you can hardly see clearly anything else but this small object ; that everything round it fades off into ever-growing imprecision. If we are really desirous of painting the appearance of things, why is this effect not always reproduced in all pictures ? In our perspective we assume a motionless monocular view-point, and then deliberately paint, all over the surface of the canvas, detail just as ' finished up ' as though the eye (and consequently the point of sight) were exactly opposite each point of the canvas in turn. We are hopelessly in contradiction with ourselves. Then notice that not only are objects to the right and left of the object we are looking at fixedly (which becomes thus the point of sight) seen indistinctly, but that low horizontal lines, such as that of the near edge of the table on which it may be placed, have a distinct tendency to curve upwards ; indeed all lines whether vertical, horizontal, or inclined, seem to tend to arrange themselves in a circular way round the limits of the visual field. Why is this effect not reproduced when we assume an unvarying monocular point of sight ? (It is not very easy to perceive things without looking at them. People who have not trained themselves to command the automatic reflex act of directing the visual axis according to the dictates of the attention will find considerable difficulty in carrying out this experiment. Also it should be remarked that the longer one fixes one's vision on the point of sight the more curved do the perimetric lines seem to become.) The elaboration of one sole point of interest is often done in sketching, the rest of the sketch being left jiou and imprecise. I think I am right in saying that the artist often instinctively makes the elaborated point lie on the visual axis of his perspective scheme. In this way, as in others, sketches may be said to be more' true' than finished work. Here again we frequently meet with artists, especially water-colour painters, who adopt a method of work based on a combination of undecided
Was this article helpful?