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The use of perspective in Renaissance painting caused a revolution in the history of seeing - allowing artists to depict the world from a spectators point of view. But the theory of perspective that changed the course of Western art originated elsewhere--it was formulated in Baghdad by the eleventh-century mathematician Ibn al Haithan - known in the West as Alhazen. Using the metaphor of the mutual gaze - or exchanged glances - Hans Belting--preeminent historian and theorist of medieval - Renaissance - and contemporary art--narrates the historical encounter between science and art - between Arab Baghdad and Renaissance Florence - that has had a lasting effect on the culture of the West. In this lavishly illustrated study - Belting deals with the double history of perspective - as a visual theory based on geometrical abstraction (in the Middle East) and as pictorial theory (in Europe). How could geometrical abstraction be reconceived as a theory for making pictures? During the Middle Ages - Arab mathematics - free from religious discourse - gave rise to a theory of perspective that - later in the West - was transformed into art when European painters adopted the human gaze as their focal point.In the Islamic world - where theology and the visual arts remained closely intertwined - the science of perspective did not become the cornerstone of Islamic art. Florence and Baghdad addresses a provocative question that reaches beyond the realm of aesthetics and mathematics: What happens when Muslims and Christians look upon each other and find their way of viewing the world trans... Please click here to ask a question
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