Brusati’s article mostly talks about perspective in 17th-century Dutch art, and the experience of viewing these perspective pieces, in response to mostly intentional technique from the artists. She centers her survey on several artists active in the Netherlands at the time and uses them as jumping-off points to discuss the specifics of their mastery of illusion—from Brusati, we hear much about horizons, viewpoint, use of the camera obscura, and so on.
Spencer’s article, on the other hand, takes us to Denmark to show us where a few of these Dutch perspective pieces landed—specifically, we see Dutch perspective boxes on display in the collection of the Danish monarchy. Spencer does mention some of the more technical aspects of these perspective pieces, but the bulk of her piece revolves around the symbolism in and, separately, of the artworks, as symbols of Danish power and of the complicated diplomatic relationship between Denmark and the Netherlands at the time. Basically, the two articles diverge after the art has been completed; Brusati still talks about the completed perspective pieces as works blurring the line between art and science, and Spencer talks about how the developing Danish monarchy used these pieces and that art-science convergence.
On the Rijksmuseum website, I found a piece from a painter Brusati spends some time on in her article: Pieter Saenredam’s Interior of the Sint-Odulphuskerk in Assendelft (1649, oil on panel, h 49.6cm × w 75cm).
From Brusati, we know that Saenredam was an architecture fan that relied on geometry and the real measurements of the buildings he was depicting; we also know that he wasn’t afraid to mess with reality a little and put the “art” in “artificial perspective”. My viewing of this painting was influenced by this new knowledge of Saenredam’s mastery (and manipulation) of architecture painting, and by Brusati’s passages about the obsession with depicting light held by these 17th-century Dutch artists. In the church in this piece, we can see that the lines from the tiles on the floor converge in the back to give us depth, and we can also see from the shadows that the light is coming in from the windows on the left side.
What I wonder most is what exactly our vantage point is in this painting. We can see a gravestone set in the tiles on the bottom edge (according to the Rijksmuseum website, it is the grave of the painter’s father), but the fact that we can see that low means that if we were really in this church, we’d basically have to be lying on our stomachs looking up to see everything packed in. I think that low-to-high really gives us the full sense of the scale of this building and this room, and this imposing feeling makes me think about Saenredam’s thoughts on the church must have been.