Summary: WAS EL GRECO ASTIGMATIC?
Stuart Anstis, Department of Psychol-
ogy, University of California at San
Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0109, U.S.A.
Received 14 September 2000. Accepted for
publication by Roger F. Malina.
Why did El Greco (15411614) paint
such elongated human gures? It has
been suggested that he suffered from
astigmatism. This is an optical defect of
the frontal surface of the eyeball, which
if over-corrected by a spectacle lens,
could have optically stretched his reti-
nal images horizontally, causing him to
paint tall, thin objects that looked
normal to him. A horizontal optical
stretch would have restored his elon-
gated portraits to normal proportions.
Similarly, Holbein's (14971543) squat,