Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/472

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
458
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ART AND EYESIGHT.
By LUCIEN HOWE, M. D.,

MEMBER OF THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS OF ENGLAND.

THERE was perhaps no more interesting object at the Columbian Exposition, as an example of a developing appreciation, than the typical Illinois farmer as he stood surprised and bewildered before some of the works of the modern school of painters. His verdict in many instances was doubtless like that of the small boy upon the decorative attempts of an artistic aunt when he said, "It do look awful." Apparently the effect upon at least one such visitor was even more appalling. Perhaps he had been gazing at the various yearnings of the impressionists, or was lost in the labyrinth of color, but at any rate he accosted a bystander in hot haste with "Mister, can you tell me the handiest way to get out of this 'ere place?" If others were not in equal haste to leave the place, they certainly went away questioning seriously what causes had combined to produce some of the conspicuous phases of modern art. Perhaps an explanation can be offered by science. At least, when we examine into the subject we find that the vision of artists is, as a rule, more imperfect than that of other persons. Where this is a not natural defect, artists find it convenient or necessary in their work to make their vision purposely imperfect, and in consequence do not place on canvas what the eye usually sees. Hence a discrepancy between Nature, as seen by the ordinary observer, and its alleged representation by some artists.

Comment reference was added to the previous page.