1413-1420 Perspective

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Filippo Brunelleschi, Leon Battista Alberti, Piero della Francesca optics Perspective


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An artist expressing his or her feelings in art, even making abstract art, is an act of illusion, a sleight of hand. It is not a contradiction that a mathematics based on optics can help an artist create an illusion of a realistic scene. Our eyeballs project the world onto our retinas upside down and horizontally inverted. Given that our minds are not tied to the orientation of the image on our retinas, one might ask whether there is any limit to the mind’s ability to make things seem right when they are not.

Although Brunelleschi made his demonstration between 1413 and 1420, Alberti published De pictura in 1435, and Francesca wrote De Prospectiva Pingendi around 1480. It took many years for the practice to spread to other parts of Italy and Europe.

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