Vincent Van Gogh - Colourblind?
Japanese scientist posts a theory on his Tumblr blog, asada0, tests an idea that came from a stimulated colourblind experience with the artist’s work:
The other day, I experienced the “Color Vision Experience Room” at the event of the Hokkaido Color Universal Design Organization (HCUDO), where I had invited to speak. The event’s main objective was to educate the public about the diversity of color vision which exists in our society. The event also sought to promote the idea that any time we make choices about colors, we should take this diversity into account.
The “Color Vision Experience Room” uses illumination filtered by an optical filter - providing a modified spectrum of light. In this room, the person who has normal color vision sees color the same as the person who has protan or deutan color vision. These types of color deficiency mean that certain color combinations are difficult to differentiate. I was impressed by the effort and thought that had made this room a reality.
I was able to view various items in the room, and it turned out that experiencing modified color vision by the naked eye had a stronger impact than experiencing it on a computer display in simulation. This was a revelation to me.
There were prints of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings in the room. Under the filtered light, I found that these paintings looked different from the van Gogh which I had always seen. I love van Gogh’s paintings and have been fortunate to view a number of the originals in various art museums. This painter has a somewhat strange way to use color. Although the use of color is rich, lines of different colors run concurrently, or a point of different color suddenly appears. I’ve heard it conjectured that van Gogh had color vision deficiency.
However, in the van Gogh images seen in the color vision experience room, to me the incongruity of color and roughness of line had quietly disappeared. And each picture had changed into one of brilliance with very delicate lines and shades. This was truly wonderful experience.
It goes on to experiment and examine the idea, (above, the images on the right are the originals) and the author insists that this is purely a theory.
You can read more of the essay here