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October 25, 1971

Vincent Van Gogh And Glaucoma

Author Affiliations

Bloomington, Hawaii

JAMA. 1971;218(4):595. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190170073024

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To the Editor.—  The argument that Van Gogh's "halos" copied sensory changes experienced by the person with glaucoma may be fallacious. He might compensate for loss of intensity of light sense by painting in much brighter colors. Looking at his brightly painted lights, would he not again experience his glaucomatous halos? He did not need to paint them in.El Greco has been supposed by some to have produced his tortuous outlines because of astigmatism. But, the astigmatic would have to draw straight lines to duplicate the curvatures he saw. Thus, the argument that a painter would reproduce nature with artifact seems untenable. More likely, Van Gogh was deliberately being the artist.

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