The Da Vinci Notebooks at sacred-texts.com
Perspective comes in where judgment fails [as to the distance] in objects which diminish. The eye can never be a true judge for determining with exactitude how near one object is to another which is equal to it [in size], if the top of that other is on the level of the eye which sees them on that side, excepting by means of the vertical plane which is the standard and guide of perspective. Let n be the eye, e f the vertical plane above mentioned. Let a b c d be the three divisions, one below the other; if the lines a n and c n are of a given length and the eye n is in the centre, then a b will look as large as b c. c d is lower and farther off from n, therefore it will look smaller. And the same effect will appear in the three divisions of a face when the eye of the painter who is drawing it is on a level with the eye of the person he is painting.