"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 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."
During the Renaissance, that system which we now term ‘perspective’ was then known as ‘optics’. As a recorder of idea, perspective law was not necessarily based around the elocution of subject matter, which is to say; the primary idea of the structure of perspective is optical. Perspective is a visual, optical elocution historically tied to an end result of a design formality rather than a form of narrative or communication. This fundamental structure of sixteenth century painting was commented on by the historian Heinrich Wölfflin:
Again; taken individually, the use of perspective law offers no intended or direct communicative value in practice because the science of perspective may be visually appreciated regardless of subject matter. This is not because we are ignorant of the idea, but because we already know that perspective law was the idea. Perspective in the general context of the Renaissance is (tellingly) as a visual vehicle rather than specific language beyond its genre. There are distinct approaches to the execution of perspective that over time, reveal development from one era to the next - but this is not often a narration or conversation by the artist on a specific topic that perspective alone can articulate; it is more a 'warp and weft' system into which design and idea are woven: See Chronological shifts and individual takes of linear perspective.
Because a painting is more a plot than a photograph, the symbolic is the ideal where there are those who understand the import of the particular symbol as an indicator of metaphoric language. Number symbolism, perspective, geometric schema; all of these methods, distinct in intention as they are, may be placed under the qualification of ‘substructural geometry’, because the visually unifying nature of geometry (or pattern or plot), are really the development of a ‘methodology of foundation’ and are of an equitable value when reduced to formularized schematic intentions or conceptual armatures.
“...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
As a schematic conceptualization of a religious type, the Sacred and Profane Love has been stripped of any possible emotionalism and traced to the most abstract of sources. Overall one can conclude that the proposition of the Sacred and Profane Love is religious, but only in the driest, academic sense of scrutiny tempered by emotional neutrality - a curious feat to achieve in fifteenth century Venice. All of this will lend gravity to the notion that during the Renaissance, the humanist advisor could be responsible for advancing learned considerations on the behalf of the patrons who were the financial source for a great deal of commissioned artworks.
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 for 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.