Linear Perspective

Freshman (College 1st year) ・Art ・MLA

The term linear perspective is more frequent in the vocabulary of artists. It is a method employed by artists to create an phantasm of depth on a given flat surface. Drawings are usually two dimensional but using this technique gives the distinctive art a three-dimensional feeling. Linear viewpoint helps the drawing gain a more sensible feeling. Aside from depth, linear perspective gives the drawing texture, gradient and relative size. This mode of artwork was invented by Filippo Brunelleschi, an Italian architect in 1415. His major goal was to assist artists express themselves in a better and state-of-the-art manner, through their works. It is believed that art is a shape of communication. As such, with this invention, Filippo believed that he opened the thoughts and minds of artists so that they would have a new dimension of expressing their artwork.

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The Brunelleschi experiment was used to show that it could be possible to translate a diagrammatic representation, also known as two dimensional, into a three dimensional art with precise and accurate measurements. In this experiment, Filippo used a mirror to approximate the outline of the building he wanted to draw. From this, he is able to get the vanishing point of the diagram and a series of orthogonal which would enable him acquire a clear image of the building. With these tools, he would then use the knowledge of linear perspective to come up with the actual image.

Before 1415, most artistic works were in two dimensions and as such lacked the perspective of depth. With the Brunelleschi experiment, it was possible to convert a real life object into a drawing without omitting the depth factor, and at the same time retaining factors such as precision and accuracy of the object. This way, the diagram would be an exact replica of the object, but a magnified version. Filippo came up with this feature of art as he tried sketching drawings of buildings which he had come across during his trip.

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Some scholars however, tried to argue that this invention was not entirely Filippo’s as there were some perspective of three dimension in previous art works. In fact, some scholars support their arguments by using the portraits made from clay as evidence of three dimension. They therefore claim that Filippo only re-invented the style. Nevertheless, it is quite clear that the three-dimension art works that existed were not on paper, thus giving the credit of linear perspective back to Filippo. Also, the initial artworks had a challenge in estimating the actual space used the elements, which made them lack the realistic bit. However, with the invention of linear perspective, Filippo was able to get rid of this niche and made the elements look more realistic.

The baptistery was one of the most successful images to employ the use of linear perspective. These videos help one understand clearly the use of linear perspective when it comes to three dimension drawings and paintings. In fact, it is quite possible to point out inaccuracies which may seem to remove the illusion of three-dimension and to some extent be able to correct the mistakes.

Before linear perspective, the main form of art was the use of clay to carve out various drawings. This would automatically give a diagram the feeling of depth but would have failed in precision due to lack of measurements. Linear perspective therefore adds precision to the drawings and make one get the three dimensional optical illusion of a portrait.

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