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Perspective and Illusion

6 7 oblIque projecTIons slightly sideways glances With the arrival of slanting oblique projections in ancient China, India, Greece, and Egypt, all sorts of artistic possibilities flowered which were impossible in the primitive perpendicular orthographic projections of early cave, pottery and temple paintings. Now, instead of seeing an object from merely one, infinitely distant thus divine, point of view, further divine viewpoints were glued on to the drawing. So to the side view of a chair, the front, overhead, or both views were sewn on, as though 45o sunlight was striking the object and casting a shadow, either to the side, or down, or both. Various methods of oblique projection are shown opposite after Dubery and Willats with illustrative examples. Foreshortening further enhances the illusion of depth below. Fascinatingly, these ways of looking at the world were all but forgotten in the West during the scramble for real scientific perspective until they were rediscovered by Cezanne, Bonnard, and other modern painters. In Asia, oblique projections have remained in use in various traditional painting styles for over 2500 years. Horizontal Oblique Projection example from Thebes, Egypt c. 1200 BC Vertical Oblique Projection example from Punjab Hills Guler c. 1760 Oblique Projection with example from German woodcut c. 1410 Foreshortening in oblique projection above and in orthographic projection right
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