Linear Perspective in art

I have selected a set of five images that specifically focus on linear perspective in artwork.  I have selected these five images because although they are from different eras, painted by different artists and they are each depicting different scenes, they all effectively use the same technique, linear perspective, in order to add depth and this form of perspective to their work.  This form of perspective was introduced in the 1400s.  All of the paintings included in this set give the viewer the perspective as if they are situated before the scene in front of them and are looking upon it. The first painting is The Art of Painting by Jan Vermeer circa 1666-1668.  In this painting we see a woman in a blue dress sitting, holding a book, and posing for a painting.  To the right of the painting, we see the back of a man sitting in front of an easel, painting the woman who is posing. To the left side of the painting, it looks as though there is a curtain that is pulled back slightly.  This curtain is painted so it appears closer to the viewer than the man who is painting.  The man who is painting the picture appears closer to the viewer than the woman who is being painted, who is situated so she appears the furthest object away in the painting from the viewer.  In this case, the woman’s head is the vanishing point of the painting. From this point, parallel lines can be drawn outwards, with the objects in the painting on those lines gradually appearing larger to the viewer thus, indicating depth.  It should also be noted that the floor is black and white tile.  This too adds depth and linear perspective to painting as the tiles also create the appearance of lines converging into a singular point.

The second painting is Rosquilla Sellers in a Corner of Seville by Manuel Wssel de Guimbarda circa 1881.  This colourful painting shows several women gathered around outside on a brick road washing. Behind them are buildings.  To the left side of the painting there is a red brick building, which looks like it is a store on the bottom and an apartment above it.  On the right side, there is a white building, which appears to also be a store below and a house above.  This building eventually goes on and seems to converge with another white building that is in the middle of the painting.  This convergence of the two buildings indicates depth and adds linear perspective to the painting.  Also adding depth and linear perspective to the painting is a woman who is carrying a child and looks to be walking towards the other women.  The artist has painted her smaller than the women in the foreground, which indicates that she is further away.

The third painting is Paris Street: Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte circa 1877.  To the right side and the foreground of the painting, a man and a woman are walking down a street, holding an umbrella.  In the background, we can see other people walking down the street also carrying umbrellas.  It should be noted that these people are gradually painted smaller and with less detail than that of the man and woman.  The spatial position of these figures and the manner in which they are painted add depth to the painting.  However, also in this painting is a building, which appears to recede backwards down the street.  The front of the building becomes a vanishing point with the sides of the building creating parallel lines, which go further back in the painting.  This gives the viewer of the painting that they are standing on the street beside the man and woman looking down the Paris Street.

The fourth painting is The Favourites of the Emperor Honorius by J. W. Waterhouse circa 1883.  In this painting, what appears to be a King, is sitting in a throne to the left side of the painting feeding some pigeons that are around him.  To the right side there is one man and in the middle of the painting three men.  All four men are bowing down to the King and are dressed in white robes.  Further behind these men, and creating the vanishing point to the painting is a man standing in a black jacket with black hair.  From this man outward, a triangular shape is somewhat formed by the positioning of the King and the lone man on the right.  The positioning of the men in this painting creates linear perspective.  Similar to the first painting, the tiling on the floor also adds depth and linear perspective to the painting as well. 

The fifth painting is a landscape painting entitled Canal at Lumberville by Fred Wagner circa 1910.  This painting shows a canal running down the middle of the painting.  It looks to be wintertime due to the lack of leaves on the trees and also due to the fact that there appears to be snow on the ground.  To the right side of the canal there is a line of trees.  To the left, there are some houses.  In the middle, there is a bridge that is built over the canal. The water below this bridge is the vanishing point of the painting.  The viewer’s eyes are guided down the canal to this point.  The water in the canal seems to converge and recede into this point and thus, creates a linear perspective.

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