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Linear Perspective or Verticality

In the current essay, the central purpose is to answer the essential question: what effect does “linear perspective” or “verticality” have on us? Moreover, one of the artworks discussed in class will be presented and analyzed. The last part of the paper is devoted to a writing reflection form that aims at conducting a self-assessment of the essay. Concerning the outline, the writing will be divided into three parts accordingly.

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Linear Perspective or Verticality

Linear perspective is one of the central concepts in art. It can be defined as “a technique used by artists to create the illusion of depth and space using relative size and position of a group of objects” (“Understanding Linear Perspective in Art”). There are three vital parts for creating a linear perspective: orthogonal, vanishing point, and horizon line (Blumberg). There is no doubt that the technique affects the way one sees an art object. According to Steyerl, linear perspective has an ambiguous effect on a viewer. On the one hand, it places the spectator at the center of a composition, making him or her essential, involved in what is happening. Nevertheless, on the other hand, the viewer’s significance is weakened “by the assumption that vision follows scientific laws” (Steyerl). Thus, even though a viewer is at the center of a composition, his or her perception ability is questioned, as it is limited to laws of representation.

The Slave Ship (1840) by J. M. W. Turner

Speaking of linear perspective and its effect on the viewer, it is interesting to discuss the painting by William Turner, The Slave Ship. The piece of art convincingly demonstrates the significance of the technique for an individual’s perception of depicted events. One can observe a storm, and obviously, a linear perspective needed to be removed or somehow changed to convey a feeling of instability. A viewer cannot find stability, as “there are no parallels that could converge at a single vanishing point” (Steyerl). However, the horizon is not removed but somewhat unclear and blurred. The observer is not the center point any longer (as with linear perspective) but can choose his or her position and view. In the nineteenth century, Turner became a pioneer in finding new alternative visual paradigms. It marked the fall of the dominant paradigm of linear perspective.

A Reflection Form

I think a reflection part is always essential, as we often forget to do so at the end of the writings. In the current paper, I find it vital that I was able to connect theoretical and practical points when discussing the effects of linear perspective, as it is vital to apply the knowledge on the real-life context (our perception of the technique and the painting of Turner). However, I would like to improve the way I present my thoughts: it is possible to make it less ambiguous. For instance, I could add more connection words that my writing flow better. Speaking of strong concepts, I believe the structure of the paper that I offered is clear and logical, making reading captivating. Nevertheless, there is always a space for improvement; that is why my next goal is to create a detailed plan before starting my writing to avoid any mistakes.


To sum up, the present paper was devoted to the answer to the question: what effect does a linear perspective have on us? Moreover, the theoretical knowledge was applied to the practice: The Slave Ship – a painting by William Turner was analyzed in terms of the absence of a classical linear perspective and an observer’s feeling towards it. In the last part, a brief reflection on the essay was presented.

Works Cited

Blumberg, Naomi. “Linear Perspective”. Britannica, n.d., 2020. Web.

Steyerl, Hito. “In Free Fall: A Thought Experiment on Vertical Perspective”. E-flux, 2011, Web.

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Understanding Linear Perspective in Art”. Invaluable. 2019, Web.

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