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Images in thorax
Piero della Francesca's coral pendants: the hidden bronchial anatomy
  1. Vincenzo Ambrogi
  1. Correspondence to Prof Vincenzo Ambrogi, Department of Thoracic Surgery, Policlinico Tor Vergata University, Viale Oxford 81, Rome 00133, Italy; ambrogi{at}med.uniroma2.it

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During the Renaissance, painters frequently used to hide human anatomies inside their artworks. Piero della Francesca (1415–1492) in two paintings represents the infant Jesus with a necklace of coral beads, symbol of beauty and tool for protection against illness or sudden death. Interestingly, the shape of both coral pendants follows a scheme similar to the primary and secondary divisions of the lower respiratory system with the trachea, the main and the lobar bronchi. The numerous and surprising analogies between the coral and …

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