As the art historian Erwin Panofsky notes in his Perspective as Symbolic Form, there was, during the Renaissance, an effort to depict space in perspective—as if it was being viewed through a window. This transparency spoke to a reflex towards the “true” or “accurate” and became an emphasis of artisans and scientists in the centuries that followed. Often, it is easy to point to developments in technology as inspiration of a trajectory towards a more accurate representation, but according to Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, this deterministic view is not completely accurate. Rather “interpretation, selectivity, artistry, and judgment itself all came to appear as subjective temptation requiring mechanical or procedural safeguards.” Who, then, is being safeguarded from this temptation? Is it the artists? The directors of those artists? The viewers of the resulting art? In the answers to these questions lies a critical point of differentiation between the Renaissance perspectival efforts and that objectivity sought after by 19th century anatomists.
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