Abstract

The author has previously proposed that there are at least six different definitions of “reverse” or “inverse” perspective, i.e. the principle of organizing pictorial space in the icon. Reverse perspective is still a largely unresolved art historical problem. The author focuses on one of the six defi nitions, the one least familiar to Western scholars—namely, the view, common in Russian art-historical writing at the beginning of the twentieth century, that space in the icon is a visual analogue of non-Euclidean geometry. Russian mathematician-turned-theologian and priest Pavel Florensky claimed that the space of the icon is that of non-Euclidean geometry and truer to the way human vision functions. The author considers the scientifi c validity of Florensky's claim.

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