/ · The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci

# 223

## Definition.

OF THE DIMINUTION IN PERSPECTIVE OF OPAQUE OBJECTS.

Among opaque objects of equal size the apparent diminution of size
will be in proportion to their distance from the eye of the
spectator; but it is an inverse proportion, since, where the
distance is greater, the opaque body will appear smaller, and the
less the distance the larger will the object appear. And this is the
fundamental principle of linear perspective and it
follows:—[11]every object as it becomes more remote loses first
those parts which are smallest. Thus of a horse, we should lose the
legs before the head, because the legs are thinner than the head;
and the neck before the body for the same reason. Hence it follows
that the last part of the horse which would be discernible by the
eye would be the mass of the body in an oval form, or rather in a
cylindrical form and this would lose its apparent thickness before
its length—according to the 2nd rule given above, &c. [Footnote 23:
Compare line 11.].

If the eye remains stationary the perspective terminates in the
distance in a point. But if the eye moves in a straight [horizontal]
line the perspective terminates in a line and the reason is that
this line is generated by the motion of the point and our sight;
therefore it follows that as we move our sight [eye], the point
moves, and as we move the point, the line is generated, &c.

Taken from
*The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci*
edited by Jean Paul Richter, 1880.