Project 4 – Research Point: Linear Perspective

During my OCA course ‘Drawing 1’ I researched the traditional context of linear perspective and how it became a convention in visual arts since the Renaissance. (Schaffeld, weblog post 2015)

Linear (or central) perspective is the mathematical approximation of how one observer do perceive the world around him as described by Leon Battista Alberti (140472) in his treatise De Pictura (on painting). 

Mainly it consists out the two following elements: a ground plane (piede, foot), a picture plane, a horizon line (occhio, eye) and vanishing points (one or two o at times even three depending on the receding lines infront of the eye). Lines that are parallel to the foot stay parallel when receding. (NUSG)


Thiis Albertian view on perspective was deeply embraced by artist from the Renaissance. It even played a major role in the troupe d’Oeil effects and the ‘looking through a window’ view in dutch still lifes of the 17th century (Schaffeld, 12 May 2016).

Patrick Hughes (b. 1939) created with his work the concept of ‘Reverspective‘ i.e. reverse perspective. He builds three dimensional pyramids from protruding towards the observer. On top of this structure Hughes paints a scene where the top of the pyramids are perceptually the forest away and vice versa. This is a good demonstration of how constraints and convention can fool the human mind. (see also my post on Optical effect from 25 June 2016 – click here)


A different and quite moving approach in understanding perspective from the oberserve’s viewpoint was explored by James Turrell (b. 1943) in his work
– ‘Afrum (White)‘, 1966
projected light [online image]
Available from: [accessed 05 July 2016]

Here the perception of a cube that is constructed merely through projection is perceived differently by the standpoint of the observer. Only in close view at the wall one does perceive the cube as wall perception. By that one could argue wether the Albertan view is always true or not.


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