Thursday, July 29, 2010


The disproportion of a shadow which is larger than the body producing it, results from the light being smaller than the body, so that it cannot be at an equal distance from the edges of the body [Footnote 11: H. LUDWIG in his edition of the old copies, in the Vatican library--in which this chapter is included under Nos. 612, 613 and 614 alters this passage as follows: quella parte ch'e piu propinqua piu cresce che le distanti, although the Vatican copy agrees with the original MS. in having distante in the former and propinque in the latter place. This supposed amendment seems to me to invert the facts. Supposing for instance, that on Pl. XXXI No. 3. f is the spot where the light is that illuminates the figure there represented, and that the line behind the figure represents a wall on which the shadow of the figure is thrown. It is evident, that in that case the nearest portion, in this case the under part of the thigh, is very little magnified in the shadow, and the remoter parts, for instance the head, are more magnified.]; and the portions which are most remote are made larger than the nearer portions for this reason [Footnote 12: See Footnote 11].


Perspective comes in where judgment fails [as to the distance] in objects which diminish. The eye can never be a true judge for determining with exactitude how near one object is to another which is equal to it [in size], if the top of that other is on the level of the eye which sees them on that side, excepting by means of the vertical plane which is the standard and guide of perspective. Let n be the eye, e f the vertical plane above mentioned. Let a b c d be the three divisions, one below the other; if the lines a n and c n are of a given length and the eye n is in the centre, then a b will look as large as b c. c d is lower and farther off from n, therefore it will look smaller. And the same effect will appear in the three divisions of a face when the eye of the painter who is drawing it is on a level with the eye of the person he is painting.