# PERSPECTIVE: Outline of Topics

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PERSPECTIVE: Outline of Topics
Definition of perspective Empirical linear perspective: Duccio One-point perspective: Railroad track; Alberti diagram One-point perspective: Masaccio’s Trinity; other Renaissance examples Venetian box perspective Atmospheric perspective

Definition of PERSPECTIVE:
Any systematic technique that creates an illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface. Techniques could include the use of: - receding lines (as in linear perspective) - changes in color - changes in clarity (as in atmospheric perspective)

Empirical Linear Perspective
DUCCIO, Annunciation of the Death of the Virgin, from the Maesta altarpiece,

Empirical Linear Perspective
DUCCIO, Annunciation of the Death of the Virgin, from the Maesta altarpiece,

1-point Linear Perspective: parallel lines appearing to converge in distance

1-point Linear Perspective: parallel lines appearing to converge in distance

Video of MARC train (courtesy of Catherine Hays, EMC)
Point out how the train recedes in size as it moves into the distance (video will stop with train partially down the tracks; can then see receding tracks).

Alberti on One-point Linear Perspective
Alberti was the first to publish a theory of one-point linear perspective (in his Della pittura, 1435). The basis for his grid was the figure of an ideal man, divided into 3 equal sections (blue arrows on diagram). This measurement was used to establish the divisions of the grid beginning at the front edge of the picture plane (Alberti refers to the picture plane as a window, hence the “frame” around the diagram). The parallel lines established by this grid would then converge according to this system at the horizon line, and at a single point - the vanishing point. (This is greatly simplified from Alberti’s text; see his text for further details.) **User’s note: you can click on the horizon line, vanishing point, and orthogonals, and a slide will appear showing that term. (Original diagram from S. Edgerton, The Renaissance Rediscovery of Linear Perspective, 1975, p.45; variation created by Julie Dabbs.

Sta. Maria Novella, Florence
Masaccio’s Trinity fresco is one of the earliest extant examples of the use of one-point perspective. Masaccio was friends with the architect Brunelleschi, who is believed to have first formulated a theory of one-point perspective c.1413, and thus may have learned the technique from him. Art historians have also speculated that Brunelleschi himself designed the fictive architectural setting of the fresco. (Photo credit: Alison Cole, Perspective, Dorling Kindersley, 1992, 14) Masaccio, The Trinity, c.1425 Sta. Maria Novella, Florence

Review orthogonals:

Photo: Masaccio’s Trinity live!
(Sta. Maria Novella, Florence) Notice how the spectators have automatically converged at the vanishing point of the fresco’s orthogonals. (Photo credit: Julie Dabbs)

Donatello, The Feast of Herod, c.1425
Donatello’s relief of the Feast of Herod is one of the earliest examples of linear perspective in relief sculpture; as the next slide demonstrates, though, his orthogonals don’t quite converge at a single point. Nevertheless, it still helps to create a sense of recession into depth, and effectively carves out a shallow “stage-space” in the foreground. Donatello, The Feast of Herod, c.1425

Donatello, The Feast of Herod, c.1425

Leonardo da Vinci, Last Supper, c.1495-98
Milan, Sta. Maria della Grazie

Leonardo da Vinci, Last Supper, c.1495-98
Milan, Sta. Maria della Grazie

Raphael, The School of Athens, 1510-11
Vatican Palace, Stanza della Segnatura

Raphael, The School of Athens, 1510-11
Vatican Palace, Stanza della Segnatura

Venetian Box Perspective
Titian, Venus of Urbino, c.1535

Venetian Box Perspective
This diagram and the subsequent images demonstrate how Titian created a sense of depth by having a rectangular area within the picture space that is lighter in overall value, as if one were looking through another window within the picture space “window.” The use of these different planes create a seemingly more natural recession into the picture space than the use of one-point perspective. (Ask Dr. Colantuono for further explanation if this is unclear!) Titian, Venus of Urbino, c.1535

Venetian Box Perspective

Venetian Box Perspective

Venetian Box Perspective

Alberti on One-point Linear Perspective
Horizon line

Alberti on One-point Linear Perspective
Vanishing point

Alberti on One-point Linear Perspective
Orthogonals

Vanishing point Horizon line Orthogonals
Alberti on One-point Linear Perspective Vanishing point Horizon line Orthogonals

Atmospheric Perspective
Photo of Lake Como, Italy (credit: Julie Dabbs) A real-life example of atmospheric perspective: shows how colors become more desaturated and hazier as one looks into the distance (due to intervening atmosphere).

Atmospheric Perspective (in addition to 1 - pt. Perspective)
Perugino, Christ Delivering the Keys to St. Peter, c.1481 Sistine Chapel, Vatican

Atmospheric Perspective (in addition to 1 - pt. Perspective)
Perugino, Christ Delivering the Keys to St. Peter, c.1481 Sistine Chapel, Vatican

Detail of Perugino: close-up of middle-ground and background
Detail of Perugino: close-up of middle-ground and background. Point out the mountains on the left-hand side, which like the earlier photograph, show the effects of atmospheric perspective to give an even greater sense of recession into depth.