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Book and Software Review
May 2004

Degas Through His Own Eyes: VisualDisability and the Late Style of Degas

Author Affiliations


Arch Ophthalmol. 2004;122(5):795. doi:10.1001/archopht.122.5.795-a

One of the best-known artists of all time, Edgar Degas (1834-1917) wasa key figure in French Impressionism. He is also a good example of the effectsof eye disease on an artist. While in military service during the Franco-PrussianWar in 1870, Degas noted the onset of poor vision in his right eye, and itnever improved. He lost the central vision in his left eye a few decades later.The records of the ophthalmologists who treated him have long been lost. Theremaining evidence, which includes his letters, the comments of his contemporaries,and his artistic production, points toward his maculae as the site of hisvisual difficulties.