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Raphael utilized perspective to give the painting depth.He also captured the Renaissance’s love of combining beauty and science-bringing back things like geometry from the ancient Greeks: Mary, Christ, and John the Baptist form a pyramid. Masaccio was a pioneer in the technique of one point perspective; the painting is an image of what one person looking at the scene would see.The encyclopedia entries Gioseffi 1967 and de’ Maffei 1967 are equally comprehensive (of the two major encyclopedias of world art in English, their coverage of perspective remains by far the more comprehensive, including extensive bibliographies); the entry Bell 2002 is less so.
Panofsky argued the latter, claiming that mathematics, but not Euclidian optics, played the major role in its conception.
Physiologists and psychologists objected and strongly opposed his denial of perspective’s optical truth.
All objects depicted within that space must be proportionally scaled according to size and distance apart and relative distance from that infinite horizon.
Panofsky further pointed out that artists in northern Europe, although likewise comprehending the idea of uniform space, did not arrive at this concept mathematically, but rather more empirically by replicating near and distant light and color effects in phenomenal nature.
Notice how Peter, next to the water, and the mountains are paler and less clear than the objects in the foreground.
The lines in the painting meet atop Jesus’ head in a vanishing point.
Nonetheless, Panofsky crafted a brilliant case that perspective was still a teleological advancement in the history of art because its “realism” had to do with the increasing awareness of tactile space rather than visual illusion.
What was then evolving in Western civilization was the very notion that space was no longer to be understood as finite and “aggregate” according to Aristotelian theory, but as infinite and isotropic as Renaissance philosophers such as Biagio Pelacani were gradually realizing. For Renaissance artists, it seemed the ideal way to image nature in a painting.
Prior to the Renaissance Period, art was largely commissioned by the Catholic Church, which gave artists strict guidelines about what the finished product was to look like.
Medieval art was decorative, stylized, flat, and two-dimensional and did not depict the world or human beings very realistically.