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The Art of Teaching ArtA Guide for Teaching and Learning the Foundations of Drawing-Based Art$
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Deborah A. Rockman

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780195130799

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195130799.001.0001

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Spatial Thinking and Visualization: Teaching the Essential Principles of Perspective Drawing

Spatial Thinking and Visualization: Teaching the Essential Principles of Perspective Drawing

Chapter 3 Spatial Thinking and Visualization: Teaching the Essential Principles of Perspective Drawing
The Art of Teaching Art

Deborah A. Rockman

Oxford University Press

Perspective drawing is a system for creating a two-dimensional illusion of a three-dimensional subject or three-dimensional space. Information, whether observed (empirically based) or imagined (theoretically based), is translated into a language or system that allows three-dimensional forms and space to be illusionistically represented on a two-dimensional surface. Although Brunelleschi is credited with the discovery or creation of perspective theory during the Renaissance in Italy, it is Albrecht Dürer, a German artist, who is best known for his exploration of perspective theory in his prints and drawings. Perspective theory is often separated into two parts: TECHNICAL OR MECHANICAL PERSPECTIVE,which is based on systems and geometry and is the primary focus of this chapter; and FREEHAND PERSPECTIVE, which is based on perception and observation of forms in space and is a more intuitive exploration of perspective theory. Freehand perspective relies to a significant degree on the process of sighting to judge the rate of convergence, depth, angle, etc. Technical or mechanical perspective utilizes drafting tools such as T-squares, compasses, and triangles, while freehand perspective generally explores perspective principles without the use of technical tools. While it is useful to study perspective in its most precise form with the aid of drafting tools and a simple straight-edge, it is also useful to explore these same principles in a purely freehand fashion, which allows for a more relaxed application of perspective principles. In studying perspective, it also becomes important to make a distinction between linear perspective and atmospheric perspective. LINEAR PERSPECTIVE addresses how the shapes, edges, and sizes of objects change in appearance when seen from different positions relative to the observer—off to one side, directly in front, close or far away, above or below, or any number of infinite variations. ATMOSPHERIC PERSPECTIVE describes other characteristics seen in objects that are some distance from the observer. A veil of atmospheric haze affects and decreases clarity, contrast, detail, and color. Atmospheric perspective, which is not mathematically or geometrically based, is a powerful complement to linear perspective, and when used together the illusion of three-dimensionality and space can be powerful.

Keywords:   atmospheric perspective, baselines, central vanishing points, dimensional lines, ellipses, geometric solids, inclined planes, key cubes, leading edge of cubes

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