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Depiction of three-dimensional objects and spatial relationships on a two-dimensional plane. In Western art, illusions of volume and space are generally created by use of the linear perspective system, based on the observation that objects appear to shrink and parallel lines to converge at an infinitely distant vanishing point as they recede in space from the viewer. The vanishing point may have been known to the Greeks and Romans but had been lost until Filippo Brunelleschi rediscovered the principles of linear or mathematical perspective early in the 15th century. Linear perspective dominated Western painting until the late 19th century, when Paul Cézanne flattened the conventional picture plane. The Cubists and other 20th-century painters abandoned depiction of three-dimensional space altogether. See alsoaerial perspective.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on perspective, visit Britannica.com.