Italian Engineer And Architect, Filippo Brunelleschi, Rediscovered, And Form Within A Picture Plane

Italian Engineer And Architect, Filippo Brunelleschi, Rediscovered, And Form Within A Picture Plane

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In the early 1400s, Italian engineer and architect, Filippo Brunelleschi, rediscovered the system of perspective as a mathematical technique to replicate depth and form within a picture plane. According to the principles, establishing one or more vanishing points can enable an artist to draw the parallels of an object to recede and converge, thus disappearing into a “distance”. In 1412, Brunelleschi demonstrated this technique to the public when he used a picture of the Florence Baptistery painted on a panel with a small hole in the centre.3 In his other hand, he held a mirror to reflect the painting itself, in which the reflected view seen through the hole depicted the correct perspective of the baptistery. It was confirmed that the image painted on the panel was almost identical to what was seen in person. Following Brunelleschi’s rediscovery and application of the technique, Leon Battista Alberti codified the system and explained the guidelines in his treatise Della Pittura4, in which was read by some major artists all over Europe.

Prior to the discovery of the correct perspective technique, there were rarely any attempts to construct the illusion of space and depth in an image in the Medieval art periods. It was not until the early 14th century when Italian painters Giotto di Bondone and Duccio di Buoninsegna began attempting to recreate perspective.5 However, these attempts were unsuccessful and their artwork still appeared flat since the elements of their subjects were placed and scaled incorrectly. For example, in The Road to Emmaus (Fig. 2),6 Duccio made an attempt to create depth with his angled lines that supposedly lead to a cave entrance by the city. Since there are no specific vanishing points found in this painting,...


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...d. In their hands, Plato carries Timaeus (Plato’s impression of how the universe was formed and its portrayal) and Aristotle carries his Nicomachean Ethics (theory of ethics that stresses the need to study the human behaviour and the world). Since these people are portrayed as learning from one another, Raphael highlights the Humanist idea that mankind is able to achieve, advance and share knowledge.

The human race would not nearly be as advanced without Humanism as the understanding of creativity and ability to achieve is so important. The focus on intellect and individuality had a major influence on Western philosophy and art in the Renaissance. In particular, the paintings Creation of Adam by Michelangelo and The School of Athens by Raphael and their Humanist approach can be studied to understand the creative urge and the revolutionary impact Humanism had on art.

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