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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: May 2013

10 - A repertoire of drawing systems


On those remote pages it is written that animals are divided into (a) those that belong to the Emperor, (b) embalmed ones, (c) those that are trained, (d) suckling pigs, (e) mermaids, (f) fabulous ones, (g) stray dogs, (h) those that are included in this classification, (i) those that tremble as if they were mad, (j) innumerable ones, (k) those drawn with a very fine camel's hair brush, (l) others, (m) those that have just broken a flower vase, (n) those that resemble flies from a distance.

J.L. Borges (1964: The analytical language of John Wilkins)

The artist drawing a scene faces the choice of a number of possibilities regarding vantage point and position of the picture plane. These choices naturally determine the way the artist sees the scene; for instance, whether a subject is portrayed frontwards, or side face, or somehow in between. It is apparent that the number of substantially different choices for our artist depends on, and increases with the complexity of, the scene. Since the nature of this scene is not necessarily amenable to mathematical terms, the idea of a catalogue of such choices akin to the catalogues we described in Section 3.8 is out of place. But there are a number of choices having a mathematical character which can be considered independently of the depicted scene.

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Manifold Mirrors
  • Online ISBN: 9781139014632
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