Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Vanishing Point



The vanishing point is the tiny spot somewhere on the distant horizon at which receding parallel lines viewed in perspective appear to converge. The discovery of it, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say the recognition of it, was the key moment in the development of European Art in the middle ages, because it opened the door to perspective and allowed artists to convey the illusion of three dimensionality. The key figure was Filippo Brunelleschi, who drew the outlines of many of Florence's buildings in the early 15th century on a mirror, then set up the painting in the entrance to the doorway of that building, and had people look at it through a mirror, so that his painting merged into the building and its depth became revealed.

Once others had understood the technique, both vertical and horizontal vanishing lines began to be used, separately or together, and tricks played with the spot at which the vanishing point was fixed. If you look carefully at the abstract on this page, the vanishing point is in the dead centre of the drawing, but also at the bottom centre and at the extreme points of the triangles as well, which creates the mirror effect. 


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