Art Essay

The development of art was marked by the constant invention and implementation of new techniques resulting from experiments and artistic search for perfection. As a rule all of them contributed to the progress of art, but some were practically revolutionary as it was in the case of the discovery of the linear perspective. In fact, the formidable insight of Filippo Brunelleschi and his discovery of the linear perspective had change the visual art dramatically.
Naturally, this discovery could be viewed as a kind of incident and, probably, the linear perspective was discovered occasionally but, nevertheless, it is obvious that it was the result of the great changes that took place in the society, science and art of the epoch. To put it more precisely, the discovery of linear perspective is closely related to the epoch of the Renaissance and it should be said that it was quite logical that artists eventually managed to overcome medieval biases. It is necessary to underline that until the Renaissance the art was significantly influenced by the dominating religious views, ideas and, naturally, works of art were basically focused on religious themes.
However, the development of new ideas that symbolized the start of the new epoch, the Renaissance, affected dramatically the art as well. As a result, artists became more concerned on the realism of art and vividness of painting. In fact, they did not want and need to sacrifice objectivity and realism for the sake of the necessity to convey some divine or spiritual message. In such a way, the attempts to make art closer to real life eventually led to the discovery of the linear perspective which changed art dramatically creating the borderline between the Medieval epoch and the Renaissance art.
In actuality, with the discovery of the linear perspective the artists found the technique which helped them make their paintings more realistic since the linear perspective could reproduce the exact look of the things to the human eye by means of the creation of the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. And again it is worthy to mention that the discovery of the linear perspective could be hardly possible without the progress of science, especially mathematics, in the epoch of the Renaissance.
At first glance, the practical implementation of the linear perspective is quite simple for the linear perspective involves the use of receding parallels that appear to coverage on a point on the horizon known as the vanishing point. At the same time, this discovery had made paintings more realistic and close to real life.
Actually, it is possible to compare some paintings created before and after the discovery of the linear perspective in order to better understand its advantages and assess the progress of art. In this respect, it is worthy of mention the works by Jan van Eyck in which it is possible to trace the evolution of the artist’s technique and significant change due to the use of the linear perspective. For instance, his painting known as “The Arnolfini Wedding” (1434) was created in a traditional style without any hint at the linear perspective. Obviously, the artist did not understand perspective and the faces and fabrics seem to be unrealistic while parallel lines of the floor, window, bad, and ceiling did not ‘line up’ since there is no vanishing point that made the painting totally unrealistic and extremely plain. No wonder that the author paid much attention to symbolism of his painting since the domestic interior, bride and groom and other details are Christian symbols.
In stark contrast to this painting, his “Man in a Red Turban” strikes the viewer with its realism, basically due to the use of different techniques that give the illusion of three dimensions on the two-dimensional surface. For instance, he posed the figure in a thee-quarters view and made the nose overlap the right cheek and thus appear in front of it. However, this paint was not so perfect in terms of the use of the linear perspective as “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci did. This painting is considered to be composed as an ideal perspective space where even slightest details were carefully depicted that contributes to its vividness and realism.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the discovery of the linear perspective contributed to the further progress of visual art and symbolized the great achievements of the Renaissance period, though, this discovery was just one in succession since it was the result of the profound scientific knowledge of artists, especially in the field of mathematics. Anyway, the discovery of the linear perspective gave birth to numerous masterpieces of the world art.


1. Cuelar, J. The Mystery of Leonardo da Vinci. New York: Lynne Rienner Pub, 1999.
2. Sayre, Henry. M. A World of Art. New York: Touchstone, 1999.
3. Vasari, Giorgio. The Lives of the Artists. New York: Penguin Books, 1965.

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