For centuries, people have theorized about the source of Leonardo da Vinci’s artistic genius. Just how was he able to so accurately capture depth and perspective on a flat canvas?
New research suggests da Vinci’s unmatched talent may in part be the result of his ability to see the world differently — literally.
There is now evidence that da Vinci’s renowned capacity to reproduce the three-dimensional world in paintings may have been aided by an eye disorder that allowed him to see in both 2-D and 3-D, according to a study published Thursday in JAMA Ophthalmology, a peer-reviewed journal.
Da Vinci is believed to have had a condition called intermittent exotropia — commonly referred to as being “walleyed” — a form of strabismus, eye misalignment that affects about 4 percent of the U.S. population. Those with exotropia usually end up favoring one eye over the other, which means they are more likely to see the world as if it were, say, painted on a flat canvas.