The Eye of the Artist

The Eye of the Artist by Michael F. Marmor and James G. Ravin. St. Louis: Mosby-Year Book, Inc.. 1997.

This book brings together wide-ranging articles on vision and art by a number of contributors—some art historians, some ophthalmologists—and is generously illustrated with charts, diagrams, and reproductions of relevant artworks. In the opening chapter, Michael F. Marmor discusses visual function and eye diseases in the context of art, making the point that “vision is not just a mechanical function of the eye,” since, “in simple terms, the brain intertwines perceptual processes to interpret what we see.” The book includes chapters overviewing the sorts of eye issues (presbyopia, myopia, cataracts, macular degeneration, etc.) and visual phenomena (such as edge effects) that affect and influence artists’ work. Later chapters discuss the works of certain artists in light of their visual ailments. You will find discussions of the vision and work of Charles Méryon, Vincent van Gogh, Renoir, Claude Monet, El Greco, Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Georgia O’Keeffe, and the Greek vase painter Euphronios.