Florence and the Renaissance
Throughout the Renaissance there was a large sense of civic pride in Florence; not surprising considering that from the early Renaissance right through to the 16th century the biggest names of the era came from the Tuscan city itself. Here I will discuss two of the most notable perspective techniques that marked the beginnings of the Renaissance that were introduced by the Florentine Donatello (1386 – 1466) and Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378 – 1455).
From very early on in the early Renaissance, the Florentine Donatello was already keeping perspective. The sophistication wasn’t quite of the same level of what came nearly 200 years later however; he did use linear perspective. Linear perspective is where the size and position of objects or figures are relative in that they will recede into the background as the lines of perspective draw in closer together running diagonally and meet at the ‘horizon’ of the painting.
For example, Donatello’s relief of the Feast of Herrod clearly shows linear perspective. However, this is a relief that also uses the technique of Pictorial perspective alongside the linear perspective. This means, while the relief shows the arches and figures getting progressively smaller the further away they are, they also get flatter. You would notice that the foreground of the relief, if you were to touch it, would protrude more than right at the background, where it is almost completely flat. This creates an illusion of space and the term used for a flattened (or smashed) relief is ‘Schiacciato’.