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)

The late Milton E. Brener was a retired attorney who had written books and numerous articles on such topics as art, opera and Judaica, He lived 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