|Filippo Brunelleschi, Leon Battista Alberti, Piero della Francesca optics|
- People in Florence had it figured out—
- how to trick the eye with an illusion of depth.
- Filippo Brunelleschi demonstrated its realism
- by comparing the view of the Florentine Baptistery
- from a doorway of the unfinished Il Duomo
- with his painting reflected in a mirror.
- Leon Battista Alberti wrote the first manual for artists.
- Piero della Francesca completed the picture
- by adding illustrations and showing how
- to represent solids in any area of the picture plane.
- Other artists had had other schemes.
- In ancient Egypt, major characters
- were larger and placed higher in the composition.
- In medieval illustrations, larger figures
- had more spiritual or social importance.
- Early Italian masters used shadowing
- to create an illusion of depth.
- In Byzantine art the settings of important figures
- were put in reverse perspective,
- where the vanishing point was in front of the picture.
- Sitting at a dockside cafe with her, I seemed
- to think the sea stood upright like a blue wall.
- A small boat crawled slowly down
- like a snail with sails. As I raised a toast to the two of us,
- a jet passed overhead like the head of an arrow
- leaving a small hole in a cloud, like the hole in my heart.
- I waited for the evening’s wine to reverse
- the effects of my afternoon coffee, while the sun set
- and the sea disappeared under red flags,
- inverted, as though I were inside a camera obscura.