On Right and Wrong Drawings

In: Art & Perception
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  • 1 University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Laboratory of Experimental Psychology, Tiensestraat 102, Box 3711, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
  • | 2 Experimental Psychology, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 1, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • | 3 Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Sassari, Via Roma 151, 07100 Sassari, Italy
  • | 4 Cardiff School of Art and Design, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff CF24 0SP, UK
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Are pictorial renderings that deviate from linear perspective necessarily ‘wrong’? Are those in perfect linear perspective necessarily ‘right’? Are wrong depictions in some sense ‘impossible’? Linear perspective is the art of the peep show, making sense only from one fixed position, whereas typical art works are constructed and used more like panel presentations, that leave the vantage point free. In the latter case the viewpoint is free; moreover, a change of viewpoint has only a minor effect on pictorial experience. This phenomenologically important difference can be made explicit and formal, by considering the effects of panning eye movements when perusing scenes, and of changes of viewpoint induced by translations with respect to pictorial surfaces. We present examples from formal geometry, photography, and the visual arts.

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