Why sculptors outlive painters

January 19th, 2008 - 4:51 pm ICT by admin  

London, January 19 (ANI): Sculptors in olden days lived significantly longer than painters perhaps because the physical rigours of sculpting boosted the immune system, suggests a new study.

Phillip Greenspan, a Biologist and art enthusiast from the University of Georgia in Athens, feels that this may help explain why Italian artists Raphael Sanzio and Michelangelo Caravaggio could not celebrate their fortieth birthday, while Donatello and Giovanni Bernini lived into their 80s.

He says that he conceived the idea of carrying out this research while helping his wife, who is a sculptor herself.

It is hard work. The idea came to me right then I knew there werent many sculptors who died early, but many painters have, Nature magazine quoted him as writing in a report, published in Age and Ageing.

Working with his colleagues, Greenspan looked at the lifespans of 406 artists, ranging in time from the German sculptor Peter Parler (13301399) to the Belgian painter Henri Evenepoel (18721899). Lifespans ranged from Titians 99 years to sculptor Pierino da Vinci, dead at 23.

The researchers found that the 144 sculptors surveyed averaged 67.4 years of life, significantly longer than the 262 painters who averaged 63.6 years.

Greenspan does not stress that artists be compared for their longevity to confirm the benefits of exercise. He, however, says that the value of his study reflects from the fact that it is based on groups of people who would have been expected to live similar lives.

He says that all these artists would have consumed same sort of food and drinks, and enjoyed same social and economic status while alive, but they might have been different in respect of physical labour they did to make their artworks.

Several animal studies have shown that regular moderate exercise helps fight germs.

Greenspan believes that in the pre-antibiotic era covered by his study, most people would have died from infectious disease.

Regular exercise will provide you with a better immune system, agrees medical researcher Bente Pedersen of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

She even says that in addition to warding off infection, the anti-inflammatory effects of exercise can protect against diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders.

However, according to rheumatologist Jan Dequeker of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, poisoning from the lead in paint, rather than sloth, might be behind the difference.

Greenspan, on the other hand, insists that breathing the dust from stone carving is also dangerous, as it may make sculptors susceptible to lung disorders. (ANI)

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