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Lecture 43

EURO ST 10 Lecture Notes - Lecture 43: Filippo Brunelleschi, Vanishing Point

European Studies
Course Code
John Smith

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Professor Smith
European Studies Department
Europe Studies 10
European History
Course Code: 24000
Discussion code: 24001
4 units
No Pre-reqs
Location: HG 1800
Course Notes
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
Through painting, we can learn to read the book of nature
What is the book of nature?
Book of Nature
This is an old “trope, i.e., a metaphorical expression
Goes back to the European Middle ages
If we learn about god by reading the books of scripture, then the parallel
thought was that nature, also, can be understood like a book
As a book”, it means that we need to “read” and interpret nature
But what is the language of this book?
Galileo and the book of nature
Mathematics is the language with which god has written the universe
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