Perspective Geometry

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Theory, History and Practice


It is essential to go back studying the principles of perspective, since Alberti, Piero, Vignola, Leonardo, Pozzo, and many others, since most of them still are valid. A step forward would be to put all these principles together within a model through which the universal validity of each one of them has to be demonstrated. In other words, it seems that the next step is to propose a unify theory of perspective.


The study of the course of the events relating cultures, places, patrons, treatise writers, artists, and works of art is the aim of perspective history. In this context, we also have to study how perspective has influenced in the development of other sciences, in which many instruments based in perspective were produced. As we know, some instruments were invented to survey, as those used in the Middle Age with military purposes, while some others were strictly invented for representation, as the modern scales employed for perspective outlining. On the other hand, the recent geometrical analysis of several masterpieces strongly suggests that perspective practice went often beyond of the known treatises at the time.


We have to use the term ‘representation’ carefully because it relates both artistic works or works without aesthetical purposes. For instance, a perspective sketch of a building, or a drawing to reconstruct a masterpiece, do not have any aesthetical meaning but representation. Techniques of representation are of many types including computer graphics and those yet to come. However, as in the past, practice cannot innovate without theory. The best example of the aforesaid is the actual practice of street painting that compels artists to learn anamorphic perspective, otherwise their works would fail to get il buon effeto, as Leonordo advised the painter to look for always.