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“Allegory of the world”: the ankylosed back as a metaphor for coping in daily life
  1. A Boonen1,
  2. Sj van der Linden1,
  3. P Geusens2,
  4. D Vosse3
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology and Caphri Research Institute, University Hospital Maastricht, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, University Hospital Maastricht, The Netherlands and University Hasselt, Belgium
  3. 3Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, University Hospital Maastricht, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr A Boonen
    Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, University Hospital Maastricht, PO Box 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands; aboo{at}sint.azm.nl

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The gothic panel we are looking at (fig 1) is entitled “Allegory of the World” and was painted in 1515 by an anonymous master. The man portrayed reminds us of patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a chronic rheumatological inflammatory disease which can result in variable degrees of spinal kyphosis.

Figure 1

 “Allegory of the World”. Painting on wood, anonymous, 1515. Museum Waterburcht Anholt, Prince of …

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