"A modern spectator, still under the influence of [a] Romantic interpretation of art, finds it uninteresting, if not distressing, when the historian tells him that a rational system of proportions, or even a definite geometrical scheme, underlies this or that representation."Erwin Panofsky
|The Sacred and Profane Love (detail). |
- Authors annotation - introducing the proportions of the scalene triangle).
“...this mode of philosophising has a great sympathy with the style in which one of my friends used to paint: on one part of the canvas he would write with chalk - there I will have a fountain, with Diana and her nymphs; here some harriers; in this corner I will have a huntsman, with a stag’s head; the rest may be a landscape of wood and mountain; and what remains to be done may be put in by the colourman: and thus he flattered himself that he had painted the story of Actæon, having contributed nothing to it beyond the names.” P.71gal
"The design and structure of the Sacred and Profane Love appears to bear no relationship to the design structures based around visual perspective that were being produced in the painters workshops of the period."
The influence of the humanist advisor can be found in the conceptual structures of the Sacred and Profane Love where the advisor appears to have devised an entire symbolic programme (invenzione). While it is most unlikely that the advisor would tread upon the artists ground by forwarding a programme outlining a preferred method of perspective, it is extremely plausible that a programme could be advanced where both classical narrative and symbolism were synthesized into a rigid form of invenzione. It should also be considered that the while the advisor might desire the design to be inflexible, the patron may well have had leanings toward a more decorative - and so flexible - sensibility.
Among the many names associated with the Italian lineage of geometric perspective were Brunelleschi (1377-1446), often considered the father of perspective; his influence on Donatello (1386-1446)and Massaccio (1401-1428). The writings of and works of Alberti (1404 - 1474) were also influential and the works of Vitruvius (1st century B.C.E.) were available and clearly influenced da Vinci (1452-1519) - as evidenced in the work known as the Vitruvian man.Again, symbolic and perspective schematics within the history of painting can only have been created within the context of a cultures capacity to develop these systems of construction and the same cultures enthusiasm and appreciation of such works. We know that the advance of the Renaissance was created and marked with the rise of wealth and education: Under these conditions it might be prudent to consider all forms of geometric complexity as an intellectual hunger satiated by the desire to improve one’s conceptual capacity beyond the boundaries of simple objective representation and find a means to participate in and align the arts to the driven intellectualism that was the Italian Renaissance.