Article Text

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}

Statistics from

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 …

View Full Text

Supplementary materials

  • Supplementary Data

    This web only file has been produced by the BMJ Publishing Group from an electronic file supplied by the author(s) and has not been edited for content.

    Files in this Data Supplement:

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles

  • Airwaves
    Andrew Bush Ian Pavord