Devices
for Representing Space
Perspective: a mathematical structure defining
a boxlike space which goes backward into the distance, developed in Italy in
the 15th century. Leonardo’s The Last Supper, 14857, demonstrates
mathematical perspective. The artist drew diagonal lines, orthogonals, from
the baseline to a point on the horizon. All objects included within the
painting travel along these orthogonals resulting in their diminished scale
and adding to the illusion of moving backward. It seems as if you could
actually walk into that room. It has space to accommodate more people. Again
refer to the photograph of the walkway in Beijing, China. We noticed that the
edges of the walkway appeared to angle inward, making the walkway appear
progressively narrower into the distance. That is an example of the illusion
of orthogonals or parallax view. Leonardo’s orthogonals are evident in the
walls to left and right that pull the room inward and backward to the point
on the horizon. Orthogonals are also included from the top down, within the
patterned ceiling. If you were to take a ruler and follow these orthogonals
inward from the baseline, walls, and ceiling, specifically where would they
meet? The painting is so well designed, that they all would meet at a single
point, just above Christ’s head.
