Were medieval artists ahead of their time?

Putting human visual perception into perspective

January 26, 2023

Whypet taking picture of moon
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Christine Evans-Pughe's avatar

Those are two great examples. Thanks Peter!  Yes, the Poussin picture, as you say, is not strictly correct by linear perspective standards but benefits from a more subtle approach to tell the story in a way that is closer to how we see the world. Can you send me a link to a relevant Chinese painting? I will add both examples to the article.

Christine Evans-Pughe - 2023 01 30

Very good arguments about the *distortion*, in a sense, introduced by the rigid application of perspective in art.  I suspect that there is further evidence that our minds do not work that way.  (1) Nicolas Poussin’s “Landscape with the funeral of Phocion” (1648), in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.  Poussin often used horizontal objects (rivers, roads, hills) to delineate scenes at ever greater distance.  Perspective has a lesser role if any here.  The distant objects, in this case the proud city putting to death the general who refused to go to war, are important and are correspondingly large. (2) Much traditional Chinese painting. The foreground is at the bottom, and greater distance is higher up the canvas, often with cloud separations.  Perspective appears absent.

Peter_G_Moll - 2023 01 30

Reading mouse

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