(A glimpse into my life as a Vanderbilt medical student)

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Divergent Strabismus and Artistic Genius

Your mother lied to you. Turns out, crossing your eyes isn’t bad for you; in fact, it may be one of the keys to unlocking your inner genius according to this new article in the NEJM (for access, see this website, keyword: www.nejm.com). In a stirring example of academic priorities, one researcher at Harvard spent her time examining the self-portraits of Rembrandt and came to the stunning conclusion that the master may have had a walleye.

This is actually not as trivial as it may seem. According to the article, congenital divergent strabismus can result in the brain shutting off the input from the offending eye thus allowing normal viewing of the world. The affected individual is thus actually only looking through a single eye and subsequently loses all depth perception. If you have ever tried to paint anything, you know that creating depth is a problem. Here’s a hint, close one eye and you lose all knowledge of depth and effectively see a flat image, perfect for painting (ergo baby van Rijn was predestined for artistic superstardom).

Just my luck, the secret to creativity is revealed and my artistic journey has already come to an end. Although retroactive eye crossing provides slight improvement to my current body of work, there is really no telling where my foray in ceramics would have taken me had I known the secret of the lazy-eye. That enormous glazed monkey would have only been the beginning.


Anonymous Lois said...

Neat writeup! I referred to your quip about "just my luck..." on my latest post at:
Eyes Apart: Living with strabismus

11:13 PM

Blogger Gavin said...

Interesting !!!

8:10 AM


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