9/15/11 The Renaissance


During the Renaissance, artists searched for ways to make two-dimensional paintings accurately represent the three-dimensional world they saw around them. One of the methods artists used to achieve this goal was linear perspective, the idea that converging lines meet at a single vanishing point and all shapes get smaller in all directions with increasing distance from the eye.

Artists in the early part of the Renaissance struggled to master techniques to create an accurate illusion of three-dimensional space in their paintings. Once Leon Battista Alberti published a mathematical method for calculating linear perspective accurately, other artists learned the method and became better at linear perspective.

Explore Perspective in the Renaissance by trying it out here.

he ability to create the illusion of three-dimensional space in paintings resulted in works of art that were like windows, giving viewers the impression that they were looking through a window frame onto a scene in the real world. Later, innovations in art, like abstraction and modernism, gave us many ways to judge the effectiveness of works of art, but paintings that "look real" are still admired because of the artistic skill required to achieve the illusion of reality.