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artists eyes

The Artist’s Eyes: Vision and the History of Art

Michael F. Marmor and James G. Ravin

New York: Abrams, 2009

by: Brian Schumacher

In this book, author ophthalmologists Michael F. Marmor and James G. Ravin present a smorgasbord of brief, amply illustrated chapters as they bring their knowledge about the eyes to art and artists. They discuss the process of seeing as it originates in the eyes, the biology of sight, and the vital role the brain plays in vision. They demonstrate how characteristics of vision and ocular phenomena are integral to the work of many artists, including Georges Seurat, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Chuck Close. They also show how certain eye conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma, injury, macular degeneration, etc., have impacted (or not) the lives and works of artists throughout history.

“[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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