Rare eye condition was behind da Vinci's genius, research claims

The painting "Salvator Mundi," attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, shows his exotropia, a new study says.

Story highlights

  • Da Vinci had intermittent exotropia, a type of misalignment in which one eye turns outward, study says
  • "What he was looking at would look more like a flat canvas than ... a three-dimensional screen," researcher says

(CNN)A rare eye condition helped Leonardo da Vinci paint distance and depth of objects on flat surfaces with the accuracy which he became famous for, new research claims.

Da Vinci, one of the world's most celebrated painters, had intermittent exotropia, a type of eye misalignment in which one eye turns outward, according to a study published Thursday in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.
A bronze sculpture of David, reputed to be a depiction of the young Leonardo da Vinci, shows eye misalignment, the study says.