Vivaldi and Haydn had Seasonal Affective Disorder, Lowry had anorexia, and Schubert suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder (or he wouldn't have left his Unfinished unfinished). Following the recent news that the repetitiveness of Ravel's Bolero was an early indication of his Alzheimer's disease, readers have been quick to diagnose comparable ailments in the artistic community.

"Many of Picasso's paintings," RJ Pickles says, "display disturbing signs of a rare form of anatomical dyslexia." Rossini's William Tell Overture is, in the opinion of Phil Worth, a clear indication of the immature sexual preoccupations of the composer. Why else would he have written the "Titty Bum, Titty Bum, Titty Bum Bum Bum" theme? Mr Worth also sees Mendelssohn's Song Without Words and John Philip Sousa's Colonel Bogey march as signs of laryngitis and nose-picking respectively. "Munch had lockjaw when he did The Scream, says Jack Dolan, while Judith Holmes sees Wordsworth's "host of golden daffodils" as a clear indication of colour-blindness. "More lemon than gold," she says. Len Clarke sees "a bad attack of the DTs" in both van Gogh's shaky cypresses and Rimsky Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee.

"Whistler obviously had tinnitus," says Steve Warner. He also thinks that Damien Hirst must have mad cow disease, though other readers see his work as evidence of a split personality. Norman Foster ascribed tinnitus to Alexander Graham Bell, who "invented the telephone to explain the ringing in his ears". Picasso had astigmatism, he adds.

John Harrison mentions the sudden attack of deafness suffered by John Cage, which lasted only for 4 minutes and 33 seconds. He also notes that "Bach had a chronic fugal infection around his G-string and Mussorgsky was an exhibitionist."

Martin Brown detects a distinct stutter at the start of Beethoven's fifth. He also supplies us with an interesting life history of George Sloth, the early Victorian artistic genius whose chronic indolence resulted in his never producing any works in his entire life.

"Botticelli was in a state of acute nervous tension about the huge bills the girls were running up at Laura Ashley," says Mollie Caird. "The pointillists all had acne," Fiona and John Earle diagnose. Michelangelo's spending all that time on his back painting the Sistine Chapel they see as a disorder of balance, possible Meniere's disease, or a middle-ear infection. John Ellis thinks that Camille and Lucien Pissarro both suffered from mild incontinence, while two loos Lautrec must have had a worse case.

"The sculptor of the Venus de Milo," says Duncan Bull, "was a sadistic murderer who specialised in hideous mutilations." Nicholas James reads Shakespeare's lines "There's a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough hew them how we may" as a clear indication that he was Jewish.

Peter B Thomas did not realise until recently that Jimi Hendrix had plaque. Maguy Higgs thinks that Wagner suffered from a simple misunderstanding when Mahler suggested he gave him a ring sometime. AP Staunton thinks that Houdini was probably premature.

Several readers have expressed concern about the absence of Miss Sian Cole from last week's things-to-do-with-an-unspecified-object" column. We are happy to reassure you that she is in the best of health, as far as we can diagnose from the unspecified pictures she sent us. She was the only one of our readers this week who attempted a self-diagnosis and concludes that "penis envy is the answer". Prizes to Phil Worth, John Harrison and Steve Warner.

Next week, things to do with negative space. Meanwhile, we seek things to do with millennium bugs, of which we have recently read a good deal. All ideas to: Creativity, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Chambers Dictionary prizes for the ones we like most.

voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

    £48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

    VB.Net Developer

    £35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

    SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

    Java Developer

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...

    Day In a Page

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn