For more than half a century, Erwin Panofsky’s Perspective as Symbolic Form has dominated studies of visual representation. Despite the hegemony of central projection, or perspective, other equally important methods of representation have much to tell us.
Scolari’s generously illustrated studies show that illusionistic perspective is not the only, or even the best, representation of objects in history; parallel projection, for example, preserves in scale the actual measurements of objects it represents, avoiding the distortions of one-point perspective. Scolari analyzes the use of non-perspectival representations in pre-Renaissance images of machines and military hardware, architectural models and drawings, and illustrations of geometrical solids. He challenges Panofsky’s theory of Pompeiian perspective and explains the difficulties encountered by the Chinese when they viewed Jesuit missionaries’ perspectival religious images.
Scolari vividly demonstrates the diversity of representational forms devised through the centuries and shows how each one reveals something that is lacking in the others.
About the Author
Massimo Scolari is a prominent architectural historian. He is also an editor, designer, artist, and pilot. He has taught at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia (IUAV), Cornell University, Cooper Union, Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies (IAUS), Technische Universität Vienna, Harvard University, and Yale University.