Spencer continuously argues that the style of perspective art discussed pays symbolic homage to the monarchs of the time. Referencing figure 18, Spencer says in her conclusion, “by implying that the king is mindful of the optical knowledge required to create such mindful deceptions, the perspective box stands as a reminder to the public peeping in that the king was not only a patron of the arts and sciences, but intrinsic in their practice” (Spencer 199). Throughout her paper, Spencer uses historical analysis to connect the Church and the Monarchy with specific pieces of artwork.
Brusati conversely uses formal analysis to describe how this style of art was intended to include the viewer and create a more complete experience. Brusati would likely take exception to Spencer’s argument that this art was merely intended to showcase the power of the Sovereign. She sees this stylistic development as an attempt at including the onlooker in the scene and creating the fantasy of involvement for the sake of the viewer. Spencer says this was merely a tool of King Fredrick III to showcase his artistic and scientific prowess. The primary difference here is in Brusati’s use of formal analysis and Spencer’s use of historical analysis.
When describing figure six, Spencer says, “our lone eye goes largely unnoticed save for the attentive animals mirroring our gaze” (Spencer 191). In the painting below, notice the golden haired dog at the bottom right looking directly at us. Then move your vision slightly left of center to find the small white and brown dog also looking at us. The two dogs on the left are busy interacting with one another, but it’s clear that van Dalem is including the viewer in the painting. This subtle detail contributes to the fantasy that we are actually there viewing this scene from our own perspective and the dogs have noticed us.
This panting also makes excellent use of limited space to dramatize the size of the depicted scene. Notice the side entrances depicted right before the iron gates complete with a figure in motion walking into the building. The light from the windows draw our attention away from the limits of the building itself while intentionally neglecting to depict portions of the ceiling leave much to the imagination. Van Dalem also leaves the medal gate cracked and welcomes the viewer to the very far end of the building. This inclusive perspective accentuates the size and beauty of this church while establishing the viewer as a participant rather than a mere spectator.
Church Interior with Christ Preaching to a Congregation, Cornelias van Dalem, 1545-1570, oil on panel, 58.8cm x 92.7cm