An illustrated timeline and overview of how the human visual environment, and perception of it, has changed from ancient times to virtual reality.
In the past, people have accepted the reality of mythical creatures, such as winged angels, unicorns, and dragons. When did we start being more objective in our belief of what we see?
If Brunelleschi had introduced Cubism instead of perspective projection, would that have altered human visual perception?
Paintings on walls and ceilings created a virtual reality long before the term was coined. Even now, they can be breathtaking in effect.
We’re easily convinced of the reality of 2D images – as when early audiences panicked as the Lumières’ train ran at them in a movie. How has our exposure to pictures changed, though?
The founding father of modern neuroanatomy wanted to be an artist, and spent much of his life drawing. He was painted by one of the Madrazo family, among whom was an early Impressionist.
What to our ancestors would have been blurred and defective images are now accepted as depicting motion. How our perception has changed, thanks to photography.
The mental images which we perceive are created in the brain, which has some fixed ideas about how to do that. They’re not the same as optical laws used in cameras and related devices.
Exposure to colour was, for centuries, determined by class. The poor lived in largely drab worlds, but the rich surrounded themselves with vivid hues. This all changed in the late 19th century and the 20th.
The world looks very different now, compared with the past. This explores differences in lighting, from candlepower to the excesses seen in modern cities, and their effects on painting.