Art & Technology in the Early Modern era: Perspective Machines and Landscape Images

Elisa Spataro, Ph.D.

This project seeks to investigate the use of perspective machines, surveying instruments and other devices to draw land- and cityscapes from life before the portable camera obscura became accessible and affordable to artists, in the age of the Scientific Revolution. These instruments have so far been studied in the fields of military arts and surveying practices in their capacity to provide measurements and plans of buildings observed at a distance. This research project will explore the secondary artistic function of these tools, which enabled artists to reproduce natural elements and buildings in a more realistic way, changing the canons of landscape representation that were previously dominated by the use of conventional elements and motifs.  The chief research goal of the project is to develop a transdisciplinary analysis that will show how art and technology made a crucial contribution to the shaping of early modern landscape image in Europe.

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