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Chap. CCCIV.—Aerial Perspective.
There is another kind of perspective called aerial, because by the difference of the air it is easy to determine the distance of different objects, though seen on the same line; such, for instance, as buildings behind a wall, and appearing all of the same height above it. If in your picture you want to have one appear more distant than another, you must first suppose the air somewhat thick, because, as we have said before, in such a kind of air the objects seen at a great distance, as mountains are, appear blueish like the air, by means of the great quantity of air that interposes between the eye and such mountains. You will then paint the first building behind that wall of its proper colour; the next in point of distance, less distinct in the outline, and participating, in a greater degree, of the blueish colour of the air; another which you wish to send off as much farther, should be painted as much bluer; and if you wish one of them to appear five times farther removed beyond the wall, it must have five times more of the azure. By this rule these buildings which appeared all of the same size, and upon the same line, will be distinctly perceived to be of different dimensions, and at different distances.
Chap. CCCV.—The Parts of the Smallest Objects will first disappear in Painting.
Of objects receding from the eye the smallest will be the first lost to the sight; from which it follows, that the largest will be the last to disappear. The painter, therefore, ought not to finish the parts of those objects which are very far off, but follow the rule given in the sixth book.
How many, in the representation of towns, and other objects remote from the eye, express every part of the buildings in the same manner as if they were very near. It is not so in nature, because there is no sight so powerful as to perceive distinctly at any great distance the precise form of parts or extremities of objects. The painter therefore who pronounces the outlines, and the minute distinction of parts, as several have done, will not give the representation of distant objects, but by this error will make them appear exceedingly near. Again, the angles of buildings in distant towns are not to be expressed (for they cannot be seen), considering that angles are formed by the concurrence of two lines into one point, and that a point has no parts; it is therefore invisible.