Full Circle: Non-Linear Perspective in the History of Western Art

By Doug Westendorp.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Theory and History

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: October 8, 2015 $US5.00

Linear perspective is discussed in art history as a significant innovation, and its place in art history is secure. Other perspectives, unfortunately, are seldom credited or even often considered. But non-linear perspective need not be seen simply in terms of what it isn’t. It can be appreciated for the integrity of its own, ontological, intentions. These intentions are visible in the formal qualities that connect non-linear work across the ages, from prehistoric to the present day. Whereas linear perspective is based on a limited viewpoint, of one person facing one direction, in ontological perspective we see a much broader view, a perspective founded in community vision, in terms of the phenomenon of existence itself. This perspective results in images that engage the world in terms of what things are as opposed to what they look like. It is inclusive rather than exclusive, a space that comes forward instead of receding. Ontological perspective views the world “through the eyes of a child,” as Matisse wrote. Embracing this childlike view, without illusion, our appreciation for both art and life may begin to grow and flourish in new ways in our culture.

Keywords: Perspective, Art History

The International Journal of Arts Theory and History, Volume 11, Issue 1, March, 2016, pp.15-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: October 8, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 417.173KB)).

Prof. Doug Westendorp

Instructor, Foundations Department, Art Institutes International, Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA