Cataracts and Impressionist art

An interesting hypothesis:

In Marmor’s simulated versions of how the painters would most likely have seen their work, Degas’ later paintings of nude bathers become so blurry it’s difficult to see any of the artist’s brushstrokes. Monet’s later paintings of the lily pond and the Japanese bridge at Giverny, when adjusted to reflect the typical symptoms of cataracts, appear dark and muddied. The artist’s signature vibrant colors are muted, replaced by browns and yellows.

“These simulations may lead one to question whether the artists intended these late works to look exactly as they do,” said Marmor who has long had interest in both the mechanics of vision and vision in artists. “The fact is that these artists weren’t painting in this manner totally for artistic reasons.”

Degas and Monet were both founders of the Impressionist era, and the style of both painters was well-formed before their eye disease affected their vision. But their paintings grew significantly more abstract in later life as, coincidentally, their eye problems increased.

(via Dr. Wes)

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