Linear perspective

DEFINITION

A system of drawing or painting in which the artist attempts to create the illusion of spatial depth on a two-dimensional surface. It works by following consistent geometric rules for rendering objects as they appear to the human eye. For instance, we see parallel lines as converging in the distance, although in reality they do not. Stated another way, the lines of buildings and other objects in a picture are slanted inward making them appear to extend back into space. If lengthened these lines will meet at a point along an imaginary horizontal line representing the eye level. Each such imaginary line is called an orthogonal. The point at which such lines meet is called a vanishing point.The invention of linear perspective dates to the early 1400s, with Filippo Brunelleschi's experiments in perspective painting and Leon Battista Alberti's treatise on perspective theory.Irregular applications of linear perspective have resulted in various optical illusions and anamorphosis.Examples of pictures employing linear perspective:Paolo Uccello (born Paolo di Dono) (Italian, 1397-1475), Perspective Study of a Chalice, pen and ink on paper, 29 x 24.5 cm, Gabinetto dei Disegni, Uffizi, Florence. See Renaissance and wireframe.Albrecht Altdorfer (German, c. 1480-1538), The Entrance Hall of the Regensburg Synagogue, 1519, etching, 6 1/4 x 4 3/8 inches (15.9 x 11.1 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See Northern Renaissance. Fra Giovanni da Verona (Italian), three panels of wood intarsia, 1520: Each conveys the appearance of open cupboard doors ? a trompe l'oeil effect resulting from the use of linear perspective. The first panel: a Campanus sphere, a mazzocchio, and various instruments of the geometer. The second panel: a complex polyhedron which can be constructed by erecting a pyramid of equilateral triangles on each face of an icosidodecahedron. The third: the Campanus sphere again, along with an icosahedron and a truncated icosahedron. Hieronymus Rodler (German, d. 1539), Zu eynem Gewelb/so du off die art haben willt . . . (A vault the way you'd like it),1531, woodcut, 8 1/2 x 5 5/8 inches, from Hieronymus Rodler, Eyn sch?n n?tzlich B?chlin vnd Vnderweisung der Kunst des Messens mit dem Zirckel. Siemeren, 1531, leaf D2, Getty Research Institute, Malibu, CA. See vault. Tommaso Laureti (Italian, 1530-1602), Design for a portion of an illusionistic ceiling, 1583, engraving, 8 3/8 x 12 5/8 inches, From Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola, Le due regole della prospettiva pratica, Rome, 1583, p. 88, Getty Research Institute, Malibu, CA.

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