The Artistic Eye
written by: M.F. Marmor & J.G. Ravin
Price: € 55.00 / US $ 60.00
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This is an art book‐but an art book with a message: the "artistic eye" is not only a matter of taste but a matter of what the eye can do.
Art is a cultural enterprise that depends on many factors that science cannot explain, but understanding the eye brings new appreciation of how artists work and what art is. The human eye is not a camera.
The retina captures images through powerful but imperfect mechanisms that put constraints on how we interpret depth, contrast, shading, and color. Artists use these complex mechanisms as they transform the visual world into the ethereal enterprise we call art.
Roughly 250 examples of fine art in this book illustrate features of vision and how knowledge about the eye can augment works of art. We consider art from all ages and styles, since eyesight is universal. We hope this book will provide pleasure not only as a collection of great paintings, but also by bringing a deeper appreciation of how artists work and what art is through understanding the eye.
Publication details: Book. 2023. x and 272 pages. Publication date: 2023-03-09. Hardbound with dusk jacket ISBN: 978-90-6299-284-3 (ISBN 10: 90-6299-284-6; Kugler Publications)
This is a book about visual art … but with a message: the term “visual” in art means more than is commonly realized.
The human eye is not a camera. Images are captured and coded by the retina, with imperfect and complex tools that put constraints on how we interpret familiar qualities such as depth, contrast, shading, and color. Artists use these tools and limitations to transform a visual world into works of art that are not mere photographs, but concepts for others to interpret and appreciate.
At the same time, it must be emphasized that science does not explain art. Art is a cultural enterprise that reflects factors such as historical context, economics, aesthetic bias, social pressure, and technical skills … and beyond preconceived expectations of what a painting should look like, there is always artistic license. Trying to judge visual loss from artistic style is doomed to failure, although we learn from how documented eye disease has affected certain artists.
Readers may ask why the authors write another book, having published two previously. Our prior books (now out of print) focused on individual artists and on their medical history, while this one looks at art more broadly and not medically. We use great works of art for illustration, and have expanded our list of artists to include, among others, Leonardo, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Whistler, Renoir, and Kirchner.
This book can provide pleasure as a collection of great paintings, but we hope it will also provide a new appreciation of art through understanding the eye.
Table of Contents
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
THE FOCUSED IMAGE: EL GRECO AND REMBRANDT
Myopia, astigmatism, reading, and Greek pottery
PERSPECTIVE: CROSSED EYES AND TROMPE L’OEIL
Dürer, Rembrandt, Masaccio, and different perspectives
ILLUSIONS: ESCHER AND RILEY
Ambiguous images, Op Art, art that follows you, Surrealism
CONTRAST IN ART: LEONARDO AND CARAVAGGIO
Mona Lisa, Mach bands, Asian brush painting, and chiaroscuro
NIGHT, LIGHT, SHADOWS, AND ART MUSEUMS:WHISTLER AND VAN GOGH
Why art can appear realistic
SEEING ART IN COLOR: KIRCHNER AND CLOSE
Delacroix, the nature of color, Neo-Impressionism
FIXATED ON COLOR: SEURAT, TURNER, VAN GOGH, MATISSE
THE COLOR-DEFICIENT ARTIST
Henry, Bandinelli, Meryon, Milton, and Hammershøi
AGING AND THE ARTIST: TITIAN, CÉZANNE, AND PISSARRO
Late style, tearing, and glaucoma
CATARACTS: CARRIERA, CASSATT, THURBER, AND MONET
Aging cataracts, secondary cataracts, simulations of cataract effects
MACULAR DISEASE: MUNCH, O’KEEFFE, DEGAS
Age-related macular degeneration, simulating visual loss
BLINDNESS VERSUS DEAFNESS IN ARTISTIC COMPOSITION
Monet, Degas, Beethoven, Smetana, and Händel
IMAGE CREDITS AND ATTRIBUTIONS