Gaining Perspective in Art: The Optics of Seeing

Wednesday, September 15, 2021
1:30 PM - 2:20 PM
TY - 102
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Colin Inglefield
Physics & Astronomy

Presented by Dr. Brad Carroll
Professor emeritus of physics and astronomy
WSU Department of Physics & Astronomy 
Everyone who has visited an art museum and stood before a masterful painting has admired the artist’s clever use of accurate perspective to bring a third dimension to the flat canvas.  Although the techniques of constructing an accurate perspective are almost 600 years old, you cannot appreciate their effects unless you know precisely where to place your eye relative to the canvas.

I will describe the evolution of the physics of perspective, which are based on the idea from ray optics that light travels in straight lines from its source to the viewer’s eye.  Knowing where to stand will help you to better appreciate paintings and photographs on display in a gallery or museum.

Van Gogh-Perspective
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