Since the principles of perspective were first shown in Renaissance Italy, the depiction of depth and space has held a central place in Western art. Artists have endeavored to represent three-dimensional images that are as close as possible to what we actually see. Not until the 20th century were these principles rejected in favor of a distorted viewpoint. See the impossible triangle and other perspective puzzles, and famous masterpieces accompanied by explanatory diagrams. Learn how abstract art conveys depth, how the invention of oil paints made it possible to capture atmospheric effects. Discover what archery has to do with art theory, and what a camera obscura is.
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Alberti anamorphosis Ancient Ando Hiroshige Andrea Mantegna Andrea Pozzo angle architecture artist Battle of San Beckmann braccia camera obscura ceiling centric ray Chirico Christ Claude Glass color create Crivelli depth device diagonal distance distorted drawing instruments Durer's eyepiece figures Flagellation floor Florence foreground foreshortened forms fresco front geometry Graphic Telescope grid ground plane Hoogstraten horizon line HL Ignazio illusion illusionistic interior J.M.W. Turner Klee landscape left-hand Leonardo light linear perspective Maria Novella Masaccio mathematical Max Beckmann mirror objects oil on canvas orthogonals Pablo Picasso Pages painter painting panel Paolo Uccello peephole peepshow perspective image perspective pavement photographic Picasso picture plane picture space picture surface Piero's Pozzo receding Renaissance right-hand Rome San Romano scene shown shows spatial spectator squares stereoscopic tempera three-dimensional tilted treatise Uffizi Umberto Boccioni vanishing point Velazquez viewer viewer's eye viewpoint Villa Farnesina Virgin wall window