While the preponderance of nude figures are there for totally artistic reasons, the catalogue of naked humans turns out to be a pretty good representation of people from the past. As the thinking goes, lifestyle, longevity and other factors have made the cancer much more prevalent in the industrial age. But recent research is showing that the disease was quite common all the way back to antiquity. While looking at breast iconography while working on a larger study of breast cancer's prevelance in the past, the researchers came across two particular Renaissance paintings with figures displaying signs of breast cancer. These are believed to be the earliest known depictions of breast cancer found so far.