Yesterday, I was called for jury duty downtown. The jury room was crowded with prospective jurors, so all many of us did all day was wait and periodically listen in vain for our names to be called. This left plenty of time for reading, chatting on cell phones, snacking to excess, catching up on homework, puzzle-solving, nodding off, and in my case, sketching. By the way, the hallway walls outside the 11th floor jury room, at Clara Shortridge Foltz criminal courts building, appeared to be tiled in Heath tiles--am I right? On the trip home, I also took the opportunity to ride the Metro's Gold Line for the first time--amazingly pleasant.
I also had plenty of time to catch up on reading.
This, Alberti on Painting, translated by John R. Spencer, is what I mainly read, though I also read a history of courts and juries complied for Juror Appreciation Week and parts of the recent fiction issue of the New Yorker, left behind by another citizen. (It has a preview of R. Crumb's Genesis illustrations.)
I got through the introduction, Book One and part of Book Two of Alberti, before we were dismissed from service. So far, it is a fascinating work by Alberti, an early 15th century citizen of Florence who was truly a Renaissance man. Among his many interests was painting, and he wrote two versions of his treatise on painting, one in Latin, for potential patrons of the arts, and one in Italian, for the artists to use to learn to paint differently. Artists did use it, and his theories influenced the painters who came after him.
Briefly, in Book One, he teaches one-point perspective to artists (geometry for artists). His is a mathematical approach to painting in perspective, as opposed to an observational one (which is the route his contemporary Brunelleschi took, according to the translator's notes). The decription lacks illustrations and examples, which apparently Alberti provided in person. Later painters, including Leonardo da Vinci, fleshed out the instructions in their own works.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Book One lies in his references to "miracle" paintings he has shown to his friends--the miracle not being subject matter, but the realism with which he portrayed scenes, so that they felt they were looking at real scenes. Spencer (the translator) concludes that Alberti, set his painting in a box in such a way as to force the viewer, looking through a hole and also holding a mirror, to see it from exactly the right point to maximize the illusion of three-dimensionality. (This is a 1966 translation, so it is quite possible that this theory has been rejected or revised since then.)
Here's the most current version of Karate Student at Night. It's also posted alongside the first version, at the earlier post. I've mainly worked on the doors, handles and student.