Tags: leonardo da vinci | eye disorder | art

Leonardo da Vinci Eye Disorder Could Have Aided in His Genius, Study Finds

sculpture of leonardo da vinci in milan near the dome on the piazza marino
(Hilda Weges/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 19 October 2018 11:36 AM

Leonardo da Vinci’s artistic genius may have been rooted in an eye disorder that allowed him to recreate three-dimensional shapes in his sculptures and paintings, a study published Thursday in JAMA Ophthalmology revealed.

Professor Christopher Tyler, of City University of London, has been closely examining the eyes in several of da Vinci’s masterpieces that are thought to be portraits and self-portraits of the great Italian artist himself, and found evidence that he may have had a vision disorder known as strabismus.

The condition, which afflicts about 4 percent of the U.S. population, causes a person’s eye to appear to point in opposite directions, according to the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.

The disorder only allows for one eye to process the visual scene at any given time, but researchers believe da Vinci may have had an intermittent version of the condition that allowed him to switch between using two eyes to give him depth perception, and using just one eye to interpret a three-dimensional image on a flat, two-dimensional canvas.

“The condition is rather convenient for a painter, since viewing the world with one eye allows direct comparison with the flat image being drawn or painted,” Tyler said in a statement. “Several great artists, from Rembrandt to Picasso, are thought to have had strabismus, and it seems that da Vinci had it too.”

Shira Robbins, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of California at San Diego, who was not involved in the research, told The Washington Post that the findings could have a positive impact on the number of people with eye-alignment disorders, who are often subjected to misconceptions that they are less intellectual.

“Anybody who has strabismus will look at this and be imbued to know that someone as brilliant as Leonardo da Vinci had a similar problem to them, and it certainly didn’t seem to hinder him in any way possible,” she said.

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Leonardo da Vinci’s artistic genius may have been rooted in an eye disorder that allowed him to recreate three-dimensional shapes in his sculptures and paintings, a study published Thursday in JAMA Ophthalmology revealed.
leonardo da vinci, eye disorder, art
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2018-36-19
Friday, 19 October 2018 11:36 AM
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