Optical illusions from the Renaissance

That Borromini, he's messing with your brain - 
this is not what you think it is.

I found two documentaries examining how Renaissance artists developed the principles of perspective, which first enabled flat artworks to appear three-dimensional. Later artists then worked with these principles, in fresco paintings and architecture, to create optical illusions.

The first documentary is a 2009 production by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, hosted by Al Roker.

My favorite segment is about the Borromini corridor, shown above (it's number 5 in the YouTube videos), an optical illusion of forced perspective designed by Francesco Borromini in the 17th Century. That section of the documentary is only a few minutes, so if you want to quickly see a first-rate illusion, take a look.

Empire of the Eye: The Magic of Illusion 1/7
Filippo Brunelleschi develops linear perspective


Empire of the Eye: The Magic of Illusion 2/7
Masaccio -  Holy Trinity fresco


Empire of the Eye: The Magic of Illusion 3/7
Donato Bramante - San Satiro church


Empire of the Eye: The Magic of Illusion 4/7
Andrea Pozzo - Church of St. Ignazio


Empire of the Eye: The Magic of Illusion 5/7
Borromini corrider - forced perspective


Empire of the Eye: The Magic of Illusion 6/7
World's largest anamorphic painting


Empire of the Eye: The Magic of Illusion 7/7
Andrea Palladio - Teatro Olympico


If you prefer your documentaries with an English accent, here's a 30-minute UK documentary from 1991 on Renaissance masters of illusion, with James Burke.

Masters of Illusion (Part 1)


Masters of Illusion (Part 2)


Photo from Salambo Blog>>

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