Asian Journal of Paleopathology Vol.3
Received: October 9, 2018
Accepted: June 23, 2019
DOI: 10.32247/ajp2020.3.3

Neck anatomy in Veronese’s ‘Judith with Holofernes’ Head’ (c. 1580)
Bianucci R., Charlier P., Perciaccante A., Appenzeller O., Lippi D.

 In 1580, Paolo Veronese (Verona, Republic of Venice 1528-1588) depicted the anatomical features of Holofernes’ beheaded neck in the canvas “Judith and Holofernes”. The identifiable anatomical elements are as follows: the trachea in front and in the midline (shaped as a black circle surrounded by a whitish line) and the vertebral body of the last cervical vertebra or of the first thoracic vertebra behind and in the midline (shaped as a pale brown oval formation). Laterally, the paravertebral muscles shaped as fleshy and bloody masses are observable. Big vessels cannot be identified.
 This pictorial representation is noteworthy because the treatises on Anatomy, Medicine and Surgery from Veronese’s times did not include cross section of the neck. From Vesalius onwards and up to the first 18th-19th century anatomical-pathologists, dissections were performed through skinning and isolation of organs. The notion of cross section in dissection will appear later. This implies that medical representations, and their related engravings, could not be the source of inspiration for the artist. We surmise that Veronese may have had access to corpses allowing him to dissect the neck as models for his paintings.

Key words
Neck anatomy, neck transection, Italian Renaissance