# Topics in Western Civilization: Ideals of Community and the Development ofUrban Life, 1250-1700

## The Illusion of the Renaissance

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## UNIT ACTIVITIES

Durer's Mechanical Device for Drawing in Perspective.
Anamorphic Art
Leonbattista Alberti's Method for Obtaining a True Perspective.
To Obtain Orthogonals:
Now the angles established on X have created an imaginary space of three-dimensional quality, like an empty stage, that can be filled with all kinds of buildings, people, and objects. Moreover, the finished drawing will look like it is very deep in depth, something I feel very much out of in trying to write down Alberti's method.

If possible, allow the students to construct the mechanical aid so that they can acquire some skill in transforming plans into three-dimensional constructions.

- 1. Construct a device like Durer's mechanical aid in perspective drawing, reproduced below.
- 2. Draw the outlines of the object or figure on the glass and transfer that drawing to tracing paper.
- 3. Transfer tracing paper copy to paper and either finish the work as a drawing or a painting.

Albrecht Durer, Treatise on Perspective, Nuremberg, 1525.

*(figure available in print form)*

The earliest example of anamorphic art appears in the Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci.

- 1. Place a grid over either an original drawing or a reproduction or magazine photo.
- 2. Transfer to an enlongated grid at least three times longer than original drawing.

Anamorphic art pictures have to be viewed on edge. See example below. Anonymous, (edited by V. Decugis). Perspective anamorphoses: A Violinist; A Cellist. 1868.

*(figure available in print form)*

*(figure available in print form)*

To Obtain Transversals:

- 1. Draw a figure.
- 2. Divide figure into thirds.
- 3. Draw a rectangle, here after called X. Mark off segments along base line. Label segments A - G. The length of each segment is determined by the measurement of one third of figure. (In this example the figure is divided into half inch segments so the distance between A - B, B - C, etc. is a half inch).
- 4. Determine the vanishing point. The vanishing point can be located anywhere in X. The only restriction is that its distance from the base line must be proportional to the divisions of the figure. (In this example, three half inch segments or one and a half inches above base line of X). Vanishing point called V.
- 5. Draw lines from V to A - B - C, etc. Orthogonals are now established.

- 1. On a separate sheet of paper, draw a line. Mark off segments A' - G'.
- 2. Draw another line (HT) above and parallel to this line that is equal to the distance from V to base of X.
- 3. Draw line A' Z.
- 4. On HT at Z mark point DI that equals height of figure.
- 5. Draw lines from DI to A' - G' to obtain points a - b on A' Z.
- 6. Bring A' Z to edge of X and mark off points a - g on bith sides of X.
- 7. Draw transversals on X that match a to a, b to b, etc.

*(figure available in print form)*

Leonbattista Alberti, On Painting, 1435.