The Art Element Space and Aerial Perspective

Posted on November 18th, 2011

Space- the interval or measurable distance between objects or forms (two dimensional or three dimensional) can indicate a feeling of depth on a 2 dimensional surface. Space also refers to areas of positive and negative space.



Aerial Perspective-
Aerial or atmospheric interference such as fog or haze causes a loss of contrast, detail and sharp focus.

The effect, which Leonardo called "the perspective of disappearance," tends to make objects seem to take on a blue-gray middle value as they increase in distance.

This effect is used by film makers to give the illusion of great depth, but can be used to great effect by painters and draughtsmen.
Aerial/Atmospheric Perspective

Here is a list of attributes that objects have as they recede in space:

SIZE OF OBJECTS-smaller objects seem farther away (distortions can occur if objects are the same size or too close to the viewer).

OVERLAPPING- by partially covering one object with another it gives an appearance of depth.

TEXTURE-density increases as an object gets further away.

SPACING-objects clustered closer together seem farther away. Horizontal lines which get closer as they near the horizon line appear to be defining a recession in space.

FOCUS-objects lose detail as they recede into space.

COLOR SATURATION-color intensity is much greater closer to the viewer and tends toward medium gray as it recedes.

VALUE -darker shadows seem closer especially if overlapping other shadows. Objects seen at a distance will fade out, getting darker or lighter depending on the lighting.

PLACEMENT- lower objects are usually closer to the viewer. Unless the viewpoint is high up or items/objects are flying or floating.


Magritte's Gonconda assignment (see the painting below)
Assignment worth 5 pts.

1) List the attributes that objects have as they recede (move away) in space. Define them using your own words.

2) Which ones (attributes) can you see in Magrittes' "Gonconda" painting? Give an example for each one that you list. EX- The _________ is overlapping the blank ________.

3) Draw Gonconda. Be sure to include Aerial Perspective.

Save your paper. You will turn it in tomorrow after you complete another lesson on the other side of the page.

Visit the links in green, below and check out the interactive demos.

Linear and Aerial Perspective
Leonardo's Aerial Perspective
René Magritte. Gonconda. 1953. Oil on canvas


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