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Lecture 40

EURO ST 10 Lecture Notes - Lecture 40: Vanishing Point, Filippo Brunelleschi


Department
European Studies
Course Code
EURO ST 10
Professor
John Smith
Lecture
40

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Professor Smith
Europe Studies 10
Course Code: 24000
4 units
2018 Fall Quarter
Course Notes
What is “realistic”
We need to consider the very deep irony that linear perspective in painting since
the renaissance has defined for europe (the west, the world) what is “realistic” in
painting
Based on an illusion and distortion
Are Squares in “realistic” perspective paintings really squares
Keep this in mind: realistic painting relies on distortion and illusion to look
realistic
But, and this is a key, it masks the illusory nature because we see a painting in
linear perspective as if it were real
Anamorphosis will make us aware of the illusion
And force the viewer out of that one, ideal position
Useful reminder
If edgerton’s point is that linear was not universal or natural, but had a historical
beginning, then it makes sense it also had an endpoint for many western artists
Renaissance Art, God, Mathematics, and Anamorphosis
Mathematization of Painting
Painting, through linear perspective, could be potentially elevated to the
status of science
Why does linear perspective provide this possibility for art to be
considered a science?
The physical laws that govern how vision operates are the same laws used
to create linear perspective art
To look at a canvas is now like looking through a glass window onto
nature itself
Artists can now take part in the re-creation of nature
The creator, the true first cause of geometry… as Plato says, always
geometrizes… those laws [which govern the material world, including
vision] lie within the power of the human mind: god wanted us to perceive
them when he created us in his image in order that we may take part in his
own thoughts - Johannes Kepler 1599
Thus, the rise of linear perspective in painting coincides with the rise of
humanism in Europe
Through art and science human begins become little creators (imitating
god as the Creator of the universe)
Art can now provide more than a mirror of nature; it is a window into
nature
Through painting, we can learn to read the book of nature
What is the book of nature?
“Book of Nature”
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