Vanishing Points

Three Dimensional Perspective in Art and History


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About the Book

This book traces the history of three dimensional perspective in art from prehistoric and ancient times, during which the portrayal of depth was practically nonexistent, through its early development by the Greeks and Romans; its virtual disappearance in the Middle Ages; and its re-emergence and perfection in the Renaissance. The book also examines the role of the right cerebral hemisphere in appreciation of aesthetics and particularly of three dimensional art. It further points to similar human attributes that have risen and declined in tandem with the use of perspective, and which are also mediated by the right hemisphere: expressiveness of the human face, use of metaphor, love of the grand panoramas of nature, and the sense of self. The book considers not only the role of three-dimensional art in the rise of landscape painting, but also its contribution to the admiration and investigation of nature and the rise of the scientific age.

About the Author(s)

Retired attorney Milton E. Brener has written books and numerous articles on such topics as art, opera and Judaica, He lives in New York.

Bibliographic Details

Milton E. Brener
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 223
Bibliographic Info: photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2004
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1854-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

I. The “Discovery” of the Third Dimension      5

II. Art before the Third Dimension      14

III. The “Right” Brain      31

IV. The Greeks      41

V. Reaching for the Third Dimension      50

VI. Nature in Ancient Art      67

VII. Nature as Religion in Ancient Literature      76

VIII. Discovery of the Individual      89

IX. Novelty      100

X. Portraiture      112

XI. The Romans      121

XII. The Middle Ages and the Retreat of Nature      130

XIII. Metaphor, Individuality and Facial Representation in the Middle Ages      140

XIV. Chinese Landscape      149

XV. One Point in Space, One Moment in Time      156

XVI. Landscape in Western Art      167

XVII. The Battle for Nature      178

XVIII. Evolution?      188

XIX. The Final Vanishing Points      194

Chapter Notes      199

Bibliography      203

Index      211

Book Reviews & Awards

“an important invitation to art historians…Brener’s ideas will interest students…accessible and intriguing, highly literate…this book manages to raise the big questions the professionals sometimes manage to forget…highly recommended”—Choice; “absorbing”—The Mankind Quarterly.