By Hans Belting
Third Text, Vol. 24:5 (2010)
Abstract: This article deals with the transferof Arab visual theory to the West. It is little known that visual theory in the West was based on The Book of Optics by Ibn al Haithan, also known as Alhazen, and was translated into Latin as Perspectiva. The article therefore speaks of a double perspective, one of visual theory (Arab optics), and the other of pictorial theory (Renaissance perspective in art). The main argument identifies the importance of Arab optics that led to realism in Renaissance art. However, the concept of geometry in Arab optics must be distinguished from its representational function in Western visual culture.