Sculpture Journal

Simulating Degas' vision: implications for dating his sculpture

Sculpture Journal (2013), 22, (2), 96–108.

Abstract

Degas had failing eyesight over many years which affected his late pastels, but the impact of his vision upon his sculpture has never been studied in depth. Estimates of his visual acuity allow one to make computer simulations of how his works would have looked to him. These images provide a graphic demonstration of the constraints that visual loss put upon him, and help to explain the progressive loss of detail in his sculptures as he aged. This technique provides a new and relatively objective tool for dating works that contain fine features, and suggests a need to reassess some of the traditional dates assigned in catalogues of Degas' sculpture.

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Author details

Marmor, Michael