In 1654, Rembrandt van Rijn painted his famous Bathsheba, which depicts King David’s wife naked at her bath. The painting has been regarded as an icon for breast cancer since the 1980s, after two Australian surgeons had interpreted the blue mark on her breast as breast cancer and wrote an article about it. Now, with the help of computer simulations, researchers from the MIRA research institute at the University of Twente have demonstrated that it is ‘highly unlikely’ that the blue mark on Bathsheba’s breast really was caused by the disease. Not that the information is really of any use to the patient: she died several centuries ago. The results of the research are published in the Journal of Biophotonics.

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