Cranbury Public Library
F E A T U R E D   E V E N T
The Art of the Eye
Cranbury Public Library

Tuesday, Apr. 9, 6:30pm

Defective vision can have a profound effect on our lives: our personalities, our interests, our careers, and the means by which we express ourselves in art and literature. Phyllis Rakow, a member of the Princeton Manor community, has combined her career as an ophthalmic medical technologist with her interest in Impressionist art and her love of travel. She has searched the venues depicted in the art work of many Impressionist and post-Impressionist greats before and after their sight was blunted by visual impairments including cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetes, and substance abuse.

 Her travels have taken her to Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny, Renoir’s home in the South of France, the mental institution to which van Gogh committed himself after cutting off part of his ear, the wheat field where he died by suicide, the landscape in Provence painted by Cezanne, and the museums in Paris where many of the works of these artists can be seen. With her background in ophthalmic technology, she will guide us, with a slide presentation, through the vision defects of famous artists, spanning the centuries from el Greco to Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh, Pissarro, Mary Cassatt, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

Join us to learn how the color, the clarity, and the media used by these artists were affected, through the passage of time, by ocular pathology for which, 100 or more years ago, there was no cure.

Phyllis would like to leave you with some thoughts to ponder

  • Would these acclaimed artists have achieved the same degree of achievement, recognition, and renown if modern medical and surgical procedures had been available to treat their pathology?
  • If they lived in current times would the Impressionist movement have even occurred?
  • And if it had, would they be, as they were in the latter half of the 19th Century, shunned by traditional artists and art patrons
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