08/29/2012 07:56 am ET Updated Oct 29, 2012

Japanese Scientist Says Vincent Van Gogh Was Colorblind -- But Does It Matter?

Could Vincent van Gogh's acidic sense of color and preference for bright, clashing hues, long the province of the Fauves, be a result of colorblindness and not just an aesthetic judgment? An essay by Kazunori Asada, a Japanese medical scientist and poet, has recently come to the attention of science blogs drawn to its argument that the famous painter wasn't so much an artistic revolutionary as he was visually impaired. Asada's article was sparked by an experience in Hokkaido, Japan's "Color Vision Experience Room," an immersive simulator that makes it possible to perceive color the way people with different types of colorblindness might experience it. When Asada saw replicas of the artist's canvases, he had a revelation.

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