Mason Cummings Humanities and Social Science
Inner Vision: The Role of Entoptics in the Artwork of Piet Mondrian
The visual field of the human eye is not limited to external objects, but instead includes visible effects which arise from within the optical system itself, otherwise known as entoptics. One may be familiar with entoptics in the form of floaters or migraine auras, as well as the field of changing colors and shapes borne of gentle pressure applied to the back of shut eyelids. Through research on the human optical system, the basic morphological components of these visual phenomena have been classified into a set of primarily geometric forms. Because the paintings of Piet Mondrian are geometrically minimalist themselves, they carry a strong resemblance to these forms, making his works suited to an analysis based around entoptics. In the past, such an approach has been used in the examination of prehistoric cave painting, but it has yet to find application in modern artworks. Thus, by investigating the entoptic presence in the paintings of Mondrian, I hope to demonstrate the wider applicability of entoptics in art historical analysis, as well as provide greater support for neurophysiological models of image making.