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degas through his own eyes

Degas Through His Own Eyes

Michael F. Marmor

Somogy âeditions d'art, 2002

by: Brian Schumacher

Through a series of short essays and a carefully selected compilation of reproductions of Edgar Degas’s work, the ophthalmologist Michael F. Marmor in his book Degas Through His Own Eyes makes clear to the reader the presence of macular degeneration in Degas’s vision, as well as the circumstances and manners by which Degas managed to continue to produce artistic works of enduring beauty and interest.

Looking at Degas’s late work, Dr. Marmor uses it as a tool for diagnosing the state of Degas’s vision, while also providing a lucid account of how some of the features that may appear bizarre to a viewer with uncompromised vision might have appeared to a partially sighted Degas.

The book opens with a foreword by the notable Degas scholar Richard Kendall, who says, “The question of the artists’ eyesight and its importance in the creative process has always enthralled some, irritated others, and prompted extremes of erroneous speculation.”

“[There] are two kinds of disturbances of the eyes, stemming from two sources – when they have been transferred from light to darkness and when they have been transferred from darkness to light.”
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