Dürer's Devices: Beyond the Projective Model of Pictures. by Margaret A. Hagen

By Margaret A. Hagen

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Extra info for Dürer's Devices: Beyond the Projective Model of Pictures. The Perception of Pictures

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Across certain changes, all of these invariants are specific to various persistent properties of the world. That formal analysis of the structure of the light to the eye clearly supports the existence of such invariants has been amply demonstrated by several chapters in The Perception of Pictures, Volume I. That there is strong empirical support for their 1. GENERATIVE THEORY: A PERCEPTUAL THEORY O F PICTORIAL REPRESENTATION 27 utilization in the perceptual process is also evident in the recent work of Purdy (1959), Hay (1966), Färber (1972), Shaw, Mclntyre, and M a c e (1974), M a c e and Shaw (1975), Pittenger and Shaw (1975a,b), Kaplan (1969), Lee (1974), Sedgwick (1973), Shaw and Pittenger (1978) and others.

It does not e n h a n c e the reality of the scene. T h e seeing of oneself is not negligible, but it is not the sole a i m of depiction [p. 2 8 3 ] . Thus, if linear perspective is simply another invariant, it has no special status and pictures employing it should have no special perceptual effect, other than location of self. If, on the other hand, it is the invariant for adequate surface depiction, then w e are right back to all of the problems peculiar to Perspectivism as a theory of representation; that is, what accounts for the limitations on its functioning, how do w e deal with the projective ambiguity problem, and, most importantly, where does the primacy of perspective leave all of the nonperspectival systems of depiction?

There are essentially two main, eccentric, aerial view station points for this painting, one for the top and one for the bottom, with each at optical infinity. Optical infinity, in such a case, is simply defined as the distance beyond w h i c h perspective diminution across an object becomes either indiscriminable or trivial. For example, a cube photographed at a distance only 10x as great as its size produces an image showing only approximately 10% convergence from front face to back. Multiply the distance a couple of times and the perspective convergence of the object becomes trivial.

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