LEONARDO DA VINCI’S
EYE DISORDER MIGHT HAVE HELPED HIM
Doctors from the Optometry and Vision Sciences School at City University of London have diagnosed the Renaissance master with strabismus after analysing the eye alignment of works believed to have been modelled, in part, on himself.
Strabismus is a common vision disorder where one of the eyes looks inward, outward, up or down when the other eyes is focused on an object.
The condition is thought to be beneficial to painters as it lets them better focus on close-up flat surfaces and has been identified in a number of famous artists, including Rembrandt. There are notoriously few validated images of da Vinci and historians can only speculate on the extent he put himself into his work. However, Leonardo’s own text the Codex Atlanticus says that artists can’t help but be self inspired, stating: “(The soul) guides the painter’s arm and makes him reproduce himself, since it appears to the soul that this is the best way to represent a human being.”