Question 1- What are linear and atmospheric perspectives? Compare and contrast them.
The Perspective technique is a way in which a three-dimensional object is drawn on a two-dimensional surface by focusing on its height, depth, width, and position. It is a graphical depiction of a three-dimensional image on a plain two-dimensional surface such as a blank paper, canvas, or sketchbook. There are two types of perspectives in the genre of art; Linear Perspective and Atmospheric Perspective.
In historical times, artists faced problems of depicting the perspective of objects on a plain paper. Greeks and Romans knew the concept of perspectives, but they were unable to make a prominent theory on it. Filippo Brunelleschi, an Italian architect and engineer formally discovered the law of perspective in 15th century. The first theory of linear perspective was discovered by Leon Battista Alberti in 1435. This discovery paved the way for other European artists to work on this theory. Leonardo da Vinci was first to introduce the concept of aerial perspective in his work. He described atmospheric perspective as the representation of different color gradation due to atmospheric conditions.
Linear or Graphical perspective revolves around the presentation of parallel lines converging on a common focal point. The word “linear” itself explicates the representation of lines. These parallel lines can be tracks of the railway line, two sides of roads, buildings, and poles. The essential element in a linear perspective is the study of geometry. The converging principle in linear perspective explicate parallel objects moving away in the picture will converge at one point.
Atmospheric perspective or the aerial perspective emphasizes the phenomenon of color shifting as the object distances away. This technique is used to show the effect of the atmosphere (e.g. light) on the appearance of the object. Landscape paintings usually use this technique.
Carlson presents four planes with different brightness values concerning atmospheric perspective (landscape perspective): “The sky, ground, sloping objects, and perpendicular objects. The time of the day highly affects these brightness values” (Carlson, 140).
Linear perspective is highly recommended for interior designing, product designing, and architectural mapping. However, it acts as an additional tool in drawing/painting. On the other hand, atmospheric perspectives deal with color shift and contrast due to the atmospheric conditions. It is ideal for landscape painting.
Question 2- What is Photography? Explain how and why photographs are made.
The word photography is derived from the Greek word photos (“light”) and graphein (“to draw”). The art of “Photography” focuses on recording light with a camera with the help of a digital sensor or by a photographic film to create a durable image. The major businesses using the art of photography include mass communication, arts, and video production. Joseph Nicéphore Niépce captured the first permanent photograph in 1826 in France.
The device used for taking photographs is a “camera”. The camera consists of a photographic film, photographic plate, or an electronic image sensor (capturing medium) to capture a latent image. The process of making a photograph consists of three major steps; exposure, development, and printing. The camera focuses on the image through a lens (shutter and aperture speed). After the light exposure, the reaction between the emulsion and the light forms a latent image on the film. This latent image further creates a negative on the film. After capturing the image, the film (Light-sensitive) is removed from a camera in a dark room with red light only. The negative goes through multiple chemical processes to get permanent fresh negative. The photograph is made by the final step of printing. The process of printing requires a negative, printing paper and light.
Photographs are a poignant element in human reality and memory. Photography is widely used in the genre of art, photojournalism, documentaries, etc. The art of photography conveys ideas in a creative and illustrated manner. Hesford describes photography as an image communicating and shaping the cultural meaning to the society (Hesford 210). A photograph imbeds strong communication which is the reason for photojournalism. We can capture and store our beautiful moments (memories) with the help of photography. Photographs are generally used to document events because they are cheap, easy to organize and gives very good and realistic results (Joseph 9).
Question 3- According to Jacques Louis David, what should be the role of the artist in the new revolutionary society of France in the 18th century? How does this contrast to the “old” role they played under the previous government of the king?
Jacques-Louis David is an epitome of politics and arts. He is known as the painter of the French revolution. He was a prime member of the Jacobin party leading the French revolution. David emphasized on neoclassical art in the new revolutionary society after the French revolution in the 18th century. He favored Greek subjects over roman illustrations during the French revolution to portray the reality in his paintings (painting: The Farewell of Telemachus and Eucharis). David’s social and political beliefs are reflected in his pieces of arts.
French revolution took place from the year 1789 to 1799. In these years, major shift in social political institutions took place. During the French revolution, the genre of arts was highly influenced by the political unrest and new revolutionary society. Prior to the French revolution, the artists emphasized the representation of Roman virtue, extravagance, and heroism. The Rococo style of art was popular among artists. The Rocco style is usually whimsical and ornamental. The Rocco style primarily focuses on the extravagant, love, wealth, and whimsical themes.
David rejected this style of arts and reflected upon the basic rights of humans, rationalism, and morality. According to David, in the new revolutionary society of France, the artists should depict neoclassical themes such as morality, human rights, liberalism, and civic sense. Realistic art was preferred after the French revolution. His famous painting “The Death of Marat or La Mort de Marat” is a benchmark for other artists to work on the theme of sacrifice for morality. This painting is an excellent realistic depiction of the French revolution. David’s work reflected the philosophies of Diderot, Voltaire, and Rousseau. He emphasized on the theme of freedom and nationalism during the French revolution. David inspired other artists to work on the depiction of self-sacrifice, morality, and patriotism.
Adrian Riffkin. “Art and the French Revolution.” History Workshop, no. 6, 1978 .
Carlson, John F. Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting. Courier Corporation, 1973.
D’amelio, Joseph. Perspective drawing handbook. Courier Corporation, 2004.
Hesford and Brueggemann. Rhetorical Visions: Reading and Writing in a Visual Culture. New Jersey: Upper Saddle River, 2006.
Joseph, J. A. Documentation. Participatory Adult Learning, Documentation and Information Networking (PALDIN), Group of Adult Education, School of Social Science, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, 2006.
Langford, Michael. The Story of Photography. Focal Press, 1997.
Winner, Ellen. “Development in the arts: Drawing and music.” Handbook of child psychology 2, 2007.