Granted, it’s not wise to discuss one’s vision while viewing Picasso paintings as Picasso often disfigured faces and bodies in his work, but the topic was brought up by a Siberian acquaintance who was with me at the De Young Museum.

Pointing to the Etudes pour les demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) of Picasso at the De Young Museum in San Francisco, Taisiya, said, “Is this how you see people? is this what 2D vision is of people?”

(She was referring to the painting on the right.)

“I don’t see everything in cubes like Picasso painted. But I see flat,” I responded.

Then she pointed to another photo of a curvy woman. (Picasso had many wives, mistresses and muses, so he had many paintings of breasts, butts and other round body parts of various people.)

“Do you see people’s curves like in this painting?” Taisiya inquired.

“No, not this flat. I do see that a woman’s breasts are not as flat as in a painting.”

I struggled to explain how I see since I don’t know what 3D is yet.

“When I see people on a TV screen or in the movies, I don’t see a difference with how they look in real life except for I can see them better if they stand in front of me,” I explain.

Silence on her end.

Later, I saw a painting of another of Picasso’s many female interests, Dora Maar. He painted her nose with the nostrils separated, as though there were two noses. Her eyes are also noticeably far from each other.

When I see someone in double, this is sort of like how they appear. Their features are distorted.

I bet Taisiya was confused but opted not to ask more questions. I must have seemed to her like an alien in human clothing.

To describe how I see to someone who has lived all their life in 3D is impossible, since I don’t speak their language, the language of stereopsis.


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