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Teaching Leonardo: An Integrated Approach - More on Perspective

Rick Faloon (The Ross School)

A. Connect to the website Exploring Leonardo:

Follow the links to Leonardo's Perspective and Exploring Linear Perspective. Read the material and do some of the activities suggested.

B. Select at least three of the paintings in the sketchpad examples. In each one, sketch appropriate lines to find the horizon line and vanishing point Z for each painting. Next, find the intersection point X of several of the diagonals going in the same direction. It should be on the horizon line. Measure the distance from X to Z. This is the appropriate distance from the eye to view the painting. If possible, measure and label corresponding sides of similar triangles to show the correct proportions.


a) Does the exactness of the perspective differ from painting to painting?

b) Which painting has the most mathematically exact perspective?

c) Which has the least?

On the following pages are examples of part B from three students.

Rick Faloon (The Ross School), "Teaching Leonardo: An Integrated Approach - More on Perspective," Loci (June 2010), DOI:10.4169/loci002172