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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    Wall-Eye May Have Helped Rembrandt's Vision

    BOSTON (Reuters) - Rembrandt, the 17th-century Dutch master known for his skill in using light to carry perspective, may have been wall-eyed, a U.S. researcher proposed on Wednesday.

    An analysis of 36 self-portraits of the great painter suggest he had a strabismus -- a misalignment of one eye that caused it to point slightly outward.

    This condition, popularly known as wall-eye, may have given Rembrandt van Rijn an advantage in translating three-dimensional scenes into two-dimensional paintings, said Margaret Livingstone, a Harvard Medical School neurobiologist.

    "It illustrates that disabilities are not always disabilities. They may be assets in another realm," Livingstone said in an interview.

    "I like the idea that there may be a biological basis for different talents, even if it's something as dumb as a lack of depth perception."

    An inability to see with world with normal depth perception can be an advantage to an artist, who must flatten a view to render it accurately, Livingstone said.

    Art teachers often advise students to close one eye when they compose a painting. Livingstone and Harvard co-author Bevil Conway looked at 36 self-portraits painted by the prolific artist. In 23 out of 24 oil paintings, Rembrandt's right eye gazes to the right while the left eye looks straight ahead, they write in a letter in this week's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine

    Livingstone said because the paintings were done looking in a mirror, the left eye is probably the one that was off center.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    The OC
    Posts
    1,229
    Interesting.......I often wonder why we have so few great artists now a days.