Heart Views

: 2016  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 40--41

Monet and cataracts

Rachel Hajar 
 Senior Consultant Cardiologist Director of HH Publications & Executive Coordinator for Research Director, Non-Invasive Cardiology (1981-2014) Heart Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar

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How to cite this article:
Hajar R. Monet and cataracts.Heart Views 2016;17:40-41

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Hajar R. Monet and cataracts. Heart Views [serial online] 2016 [cited 2023 Jun 9 ];17:40-41
Available from: https://www.heartviews.org/text.asp?2016/17/1/40/182650

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WATERLILY POND AND JAPANESE FOOTBRIDGE (oil on canvas), painted in 1899 is a lush, reflective sea of greens, lavenders and pinks. This was painted before Monet's visual problems with cataracts.


THE JAPANESE FOOTBRIDGE (oil on canvas) was painted in 1922 while Monet was suffering from cataracts. His visual problems with cataract began in 1912. In the painting above, the change in style, perspective, and color is striking. Here the bridge can no longer be seen and is hidden under blobs of colors of browns and yellows that are Van Gogh-like in their effect. The light, airiness, and clarity of his earlier paintings are gone. Although still beautiful, the painting above is coarser and has lost its refinement.

 Eye Disease and Visual Perspective in Painting

Monet (1840-1926) known as the father of Impressionism, suffered significant loss of vision from cataracts and affected his work. His most famous work, “Water Lilies”, a series of 250 oil paintings depicting his flower garden at Giverny shows how cataracts affected his work.

Eye disease has affected many important painters in the history of art. It has changed great painters' vision of their work later in their lives.

Famous paintings can reveal visual disorders and also tell us how the artist would have experienced the world. For example, when we look at an artist's later paintings and then compare them to an earlier period, we may notice that the later paintings are more blurry and that the colors are gloomier, murkier, or darker. Is this change just “evolution” in his work or due to some kind of visual impairment that developed?