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p. 125


Perspective of Disappearance.

The theory of the "Prospettiva de' perdimenti" would, in many important details, be quite unintelligible if it had not been led up by the principles of light and shade on which it is based. The word "Prospettiva" in the language of the time included the principles of optics; what Leonardo understood by "Perdimenti" will be clearly seen in the early chapters, Nos. 222--224. It is in the very nature of the case that the farther explanations given in the subsequent chapters must be limited to general rules. The sections given as 227--231 "On indistinctness at short distances" have, it is true, only an indirect bearing on the subject; but on the other hand, the following chapters, 232--234, "On indistinctness at great distances," go fully into the matter, and in chapters 235--239, which treat "Of the importance of light and shade in the Perspective of Disappearance", the practical issues are distinctly insisted on in their relation to the theory. This is naturally followed by the statements as to "the effect of light or dark backgrounds on the apparent size of bodies" (Nos. 240--250). At the end I have placed, in the order of the original, those sections from the MS. C which treat of the "Perspective of Disappearance" and serve to some extent to complete the treatment of the subject (251--262).

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