PEBSPECTI V E (from the Latin perspicio, to see,) the art of representing objects on a definite surfitee, so as to affect the eye when seen fi um a certain position, in the same manner as the object itself would, when the eye is fixed on the point in iew, 1 he art of perspective owes its birth to painting, and par ticularly to that branch of it which was employed in the decorations of the theatre, where landscapes were principally introduced, and which would have looked unnatural and horrid, if' the size of the objects had not been pretty nearly proportioned to their distance from the eye. The ancients must, therefmmre, have had considerable knowledge of this art, though the only ancient author fitun whom we can obtain any information relative to its antiminity is Vitruvins, who, in the proem of his seventeenth book, informs us, that at. Athens, was the first who wrote on this sub ject, on occasion of a play exhibited by pus, for which he prepared a tragic scene; and that afterwards the prmn elides of the art were more distinctly taught its the writings of Democritits and disciples of hick are no lugger extant. The perspective of Euclid and of I leliodorns Laris,:eu, contains only sortie general elements of optics, that are by no means adapted to any particular active ; thowdi they furnish sortie materials that might be of service e \ en in the linear perspective of painters, Genii lins of I.hodc,,, wilt, was a celebrated mathematician in the time of Cicero, bath likewise \\ mitten on the suljeet. It see ins probable that the 11tunan artists \\ ere acquainted with the rules of perspective, front the account given of their scenic representations; but of the theory of this art among the ancients we know nothing—perspective, no doubt, haying been lost when painting and sculpture no longer existed. John Tzetzes, who lived in the twelfth century, speaks of perspective as if well acquainted with its importance; and the Greek painters, who were employed by the Venetians and Florentines in the thitteenth century, seem to have luought some knowledge of it into Italy. The disciples of Giotto are comtnended for observing perspective more than their predecessors had done; they lived in the beginning of the fourteenth century.
The Arabians were not ignorant of this art, as we may presume front the optical writings of Alhazen, who lived about the year 1100, cited by 1:tmger Bacon, when treating on this subject. Vitellus, a Polander, about the year 12'70, wrote largely and learnedly on optics; and our own Friar 13aeon, as well as John Peckham, Archbishop of Canterbury, treated the subject with surprising accuracy, considering the times in which they lived.
The most ancient authors who professedly laid down rules of perspective, were Bartolomeo Bra initially), of Aldan, whose book, entitled /?ego/e di Perspeltim, e Jfisure delle it nqechiIc di Lwybardia, is dated 1440 ; and Pietro del Borgo, who is supposed to hate died in 1443. lie supposed objects to be placed beyond a transparent tablet, and endeavoured to trace the images, which rays of light, emitted from them, would make upon it. his work is not now extant ; but Albert Dnrer constructed a machine upon the same principles, by which he could trace the perspective appearance of objects. In 1450. Leon 13attista Alberetti wrote his treatise De Pittyra, in which treat: principally of perspective.
13;11th:tzar l'eruzzi, of Sienna, wrote hi: Method of Perspec tive, published by Serlio in 1540. To him, it is said, we owe the discovery of points of distance, to which all lines that make an angle of 45° with the ground line are drawn. Guido :mother Italian, soon after discovered that all lines parallel to each other, if inclined to the ground-line, converge to some point in the horizontal line; and that through this point, also, a line drawn from the eye, parallel to them, will pass. Ilis Perspective was printed at Pesaro in NO() and contained the first principles of the method afterwards discovered by Dr. 13. Taylor. In 15S3, a book was published by Giacomo Ilarozzi, of Vignola, eommonly called Vignola, emit], d, The Two Ryles (f Pe•vert/re; with a Ireirlied Comment, by Iynativs Dante. In 1615, tine work of 1\famlois was printed. in Latin, at the Flague, and engraved and published by lIondius. And in 1(i'25, Sirigatti pub lished a treatise of perspective, which is little more than an abstract of Vignola's. 'file art of perspective has been gradually improved by subsequentgeometrieians, particularly by Professor Gravesande and 1)r. Brook Taylor. The latter did not confine his rules, as his predecessors had done, to the horizontal plane only,Imut made them general, so as to of every species of planes and whether parallel to the horizon or not ; and thus the principles were made universal. Farther, from the simplicity of his rules, the whole tedious process of drawing out plans and elevations fir any object is rendered entirely useless, and therefore avoided ; for by this method, not only the fewest imaginable are required to any perspective representation. but every figure thus drawn will bear the nicest mathematical examination.