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Articles of Faith Variant Gone Today, Hair Tomorrow

Mark S. Bernhardt, MD
Arch Dermatol. 2010;146(10):1094. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2010.210.
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Originally, all I wanted was to illustrate various folk remedies to prevent or reverse hair loss. Once I started researching the subject, I was impressed by how many herbal substances have been used for baldness. While I was mulling over how best to incorporate all these items into an artwork, I was fortunate enough to discover a Venetian mask maker, Antonia Sautter, who uses the same technique that was made famous by the 16th-century Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Both artists create their phantasmagorical portraits using natural objects to construct the semblance of a human face. For example, red apples become rosy cheeks and a cucumber serves duty as a nose. I could no more resist adding these masks to my collection than I could creating my own homage to Arcimboldo (Figure).

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Scalp: nettle leaf, kelp, and rosemary. Ears: horseradish. Eyebrows: red peppers. Eyes: coconut milk and black pepper. Eyelids: sage and mustard seed. Cheeks: coconut. Face: yarrow flowers. Nose: yucca and garlic. Moustache: horsetail grass. Mouth: aloe vera. Beard: saw palmetto. Neck: burdock root.

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