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Title: Peeping in, peering out : monocularity and early modern vision
Author: Spencer, Justina
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 0150
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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One of the central theoretical tenets of linear perspective is that it is based upon the idea of a monocular observer. Our lived perception, also referred to in the Renaissance as perspectiva naturalis, is always rooted in binocular vision, however, the guidelines for perspectiva artificialis often imply a single peeping eye as a starting point. In the early modern period, a number of rare art forms and instruments follow the prescriptive character of linear perspective to ludic ends. By focusing on this special class of what I would call 'monocular art forms', I will analyse the extent to which the perspectival method has been successfully applied in material form beyond the classic two-dimensional paintings. This special class of objects include: anamorphosis, peep-boxes, catoptrics, dioptric perspective tubes, and perspective instruments. It is my intention to draw attention to the different ways traditional perspectival paintings, exceptional cases such as perspective boxes and anamorphoses, and optical devices were encountered in the early modern period. In this thesis I will be examining the specific sites of each case study in depth so as to describe the various contexts - aristocratic, intellectual, religious - in which these items circulated. In Chapter 1 I illustrate a special class of perspective and anamorphic designs that confined their illusions to a peepshow. Chapter 2 examines one of the most consummate applications of the monocular principle of perspective: seventeenth-century Dutch perspective boxes. In Chapter 3, monocular catoptric designs are studied in light of the vogue for mirror cabinets in the seventeenth century. Chapter 4 examines the innovative techniques of drawing machines and their collection in early modern courts through close study of the 'perspectograph'.
Supervisor: Grootenboer, Hanneke Sponsor: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada ; Fonds de recherche société et culture du Québec
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Perspective--History ; Vision ; Monocular ; Art and science--History--17th century ; Art ; Modern--17th century--History