Printer Friendly

Rembrandt's eye saw no depth.

The 17th-century Dutch artist Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn lacked stereoscopic vision, suggest two researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

An optical analysis of Rembrandt's self-portraits reveals that his eyes tended to gaze away from each other rather than to focus on a single point, say Margaret S. Livingstone and Bevil R. Conway. The artist's consequent lack of depth perception actually might have helped him render three dimensions onto flat surfaces, they say.

The researchers studied high-resolution images of 24 oil paintings and 12 etchings that are recognized as Rembrandt's self-portraits and that clearly show the pupils and whites of both eyes. Livingstone and Conway measured the position of each pupil relative to the eye's center to determine the direction of gaze.

In the sell-portraits, Rembrandt's right eye generally looks straight ahead, while the left deviates outward. To perceive depth, a person's two eyes must converge on a single spot. Since it is the same eye that wanders in almost all the portraits, the condition probably was chronic, Livingstone and Conway suggest in the Sept. 16 New England Journal of Medicine.--B.H.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Science And Society
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 25, 2004
Words:183
Previous Article:Hepatitis B vaccine linked to MS.
Next Article:Bacteria send out molecular scrounger for copper.
Topics:


Related Articles
Project Rembrandt '89.
Art for artists' sake: a special Project Rembrandt.
Fictions of the Pose: Rembrandt Against the Italian Renaissance. (Reviews).
Bully pulpit. (reader forum).
Eyes for art.
Adaptation.
Hana in the Time of the Tulips.
Different strokes for different folks in search of truth.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters