Monet1922

Or just going blind? A fascinating article on how various ailments affected the painting of some of civilization's greatest artists. Money quote:

What has long been known about Monet’s later years is that he suffered from cataracts and that his eyesight worsened so much that he painted from memory. He acknowledged to an interviewer that he was “trusting solely to the labels on the tubes of paint and to the force of habit.”

Now, thanks to modern digital techniques, scientists and critics can have a better idea how cataracts changed what Monet saw. This year, an ophthalmologist at Stanford, Michael F. Marmor, described in The Archives of Ophthalmology creating computer simulations of Monet’s world as his lenses yellowed, blurring vision and turning patterns of color and light into muddy, unfocused, yellow-green inkblots.

The result was the above. The contrast with his earlier work is quite striking. (Hat tip: 3QuarksDaily. Painting: The Japanese Footbridge by Monet, 1920 - 22.)

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.