A new study from the University of Freiburg, Germany has revealed that people suffering from clinical depression don’t just feel gray but are seeing gray as well. Studies have shown that the deeper depressed a person is, the less their retina can respond to light, thus graying their vision.
The scientists in the study have related this “graying” effect to the work of Claude Monet, whose portraits of his dying wife look almost as if the color has been drained from them; Jackson Pollack, who long suffered from depression and alcoholism and whose palette was dominated by gray and black; and Vincent van Gogh whose painting Wheatfield with crows was painted in the final month of his life in Auvers and whose dark sky and black crows are often interpreted as a portent to his impending suicide in the wheatfield.
Wheatfield with crows is at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and has been the primary focus of an episode of Simon Schama’s Power of Art as well as being the the inspiration for the fifth segment of Akira Kurosawa’s film Dreams and invoked in a scene in the 1990 film Vincent & Theo, when Vincent, played by Tim Roth, shoots himself.
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