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Art History Lecture

A WINDOW ONTO A WORLD: How Artists Created the Illusion of Perspective


Perspective tricks our eyes into seeing a three-dimensional object or scene: depth on a flat surface. The Greek philosopher Plato was disgusted. He condemned it as witchcraft!

During the Renaissance, perspective was to become one of the most important pictorial devices to create the effect of 'a window onto a world'.

Could you recognize single point, box or aerial perspective? What is the cone of vision? Where would you find a vanishing point, horizon line or orthogonals? In which famous painting is there an example of anamorphosis?

How can artists create the illusion of perspective in painting without straight lines, such as a landscape? Is it possible to use perspective techniques in an abstract painting?

This lecture reveals how artists since the early Renaissance have used perspective to manipulate the way we look into pictures.