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Disrupting the visual experience : regendering perspective and form in Albrecht Durer's bath scenes

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Disrupting the visual experience : regendering perspective and form in Albrecht Durer's bath scenes
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Taylor, Jennifer A. ( auhtor )
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Denver, CO
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University of Colorado Denver
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In any work of art, the purpose is to create a space in which the viewer engages. In essence, the artist is creating a place. Space and place and interconnected when talking about linear perspective and form. First the artist must create a space and then populate it with forms that interact in that illusory space. This paper takes these two terms, linear perspective and form, and explains how they are used to intentionally construct perceptions of gender and call attention to the masculinity of visual experience in Western cultural tradition - specifically those artistic traditions used by Northern Renaissance artist Albrecht Durer. Certain visual elements, most notably linear perspective and form, utilized by Durer nourish the viewer's perception, purposefully, in order to guide our understanding of the gendered narratives which he is trying to convey. This idea becomes more apparent when analyzing Durer's two secular bath scenes: Das Mannerbad (Men's Bath) and the The Women's Bath - showing how vision (looking and seeing) work to create a gendered space in which an assuming audiences participates, with the attempt to complicate the subject/object relationship. I argue that Durer intentionally problematizes the viewer/viewed relationship and utilizes perspective, form, and sight to highlight the problems of looking and being looked at, thereby establishing a gender discourse of his work.
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Thesis (M.H.)--University of Colorado Denver. Humanities and social sciences
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Includes bibliographic references.
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Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
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by Jennifer A. Taylor.

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Full Text
DISRUPTING THE VISUAL EXPERIENCE:
REGENDERING PERSPECTIVE AND FORM IN ALBRECHT DURER S BATH
SCENES
by
JENNIFER A. TAYLOR
B.A., University of Colorado Boulder, 2006
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Masters of Humanities
Humanities and Social Sciences
2014


This thesis for the Master of Humanities degree by
Jennifer A. Taylor
has been approved for the
Humanities and Social Science Program
by
Margaret Woodhull, Chair
Marjorie Levine-Clark
Jeffrey Schrader
Gillian Silverman


Taylor, Jennifer, A. (M.H., Humanities and Social Science)
Disrupting the Visual Experience: Regendering Perspective and Form in Albrecht
Diirers Bath Scenes
Thesis directed by Professor Margaret Woodhull.
ABSTRACT
In any work of art, the purpose is to create a space in which the viewer engages. In
essence, the artist is creating a place. Space and place are interconnected when talking
about linear perspective and form. First the artist must create a space and then populate it
with forms that interact in that illusory place. This paper takes these two terms, linear
perspective and form, and explains how they are used to intentionally construct
perceptions of gender and call attention to the masculinity of visual experience in
Western cultural traditionspecifically those artistic traditions used by Northern
Renaissance artist Albrecht Diirer. Certain visual elements, most notably linear
perspective and form, utilized by Diirer nourish the viewers perception, purposefully, in
order to guide our understanding of the gendered narratives which he is trying to convey.
This idea become more apparent when analyzing Diirers two secular bath scenes: Das
Mannerbad (Mens Bath) and The Womens Bathshowing how vision (looking and
seeing) work to create a gendered space in which an assuming audiences participates,
with the attempt to complicate the subject/object relationship. I argue that Diirer
intentionally problematizes the viewer/viewed relationship and utilizes perspective, form,
and sight to highlight the problems of looking and being looked at, thereby establishing a
gender discourse of his work.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
m
Approved: Margaret Woodhull


DEDICATION
I dedicate this work to my father Michael P. Taylor and to my mother Marilyn A. Taylor,
who both encouraged me to never give up.
IV


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I would like to acknowledge and thank Margaret Woodhull for guiding me through this
process and giving me the confidence and reassurance that my ideas were worth
something.
v


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. THE FALLIBILITY OF VISUAL EXPERIENCE....................................10
The Fallibility of the Visual Experience.................................13
Literature Review: Thoughts on the Sense of Sight........................20
Methodology: Looking and Seeing Explained..............................30
Limitations to this Study..............................................34
II. HI RER'S GERMANY.....................................................37
Albrecht Diirer: The Naturalist........................................37
Diirers Ideology about Gender: Man as Intellect and Woman as Body.......41
III. PERSPECTIVE AS A CONTROLLING AGENT IN THE VISUAL EXPERIENCE:
HOW THE VANISHING POINT DICTATES POSITION................................48
Perspective: Creating Space and Place..................................48
Position Determined by Linear Perspective..............................54
The Development of the Vanishing Point: Alignment with the Height of Man.55
Perspective System used Not Just by Diirer: Further Proof of Vanishing Point
Determining Viewer...................................................60
IV. GENDERING POSITION: PERSPECTIVE & THE VANISHING POINTS
FUNCTION IN DETERMINING POSITION IN DURER S TWO BATH SCENES.... 63
Orthogonal Lines Indicative of the Absolute Man......................63
Womens Bath...........................................................67
vi


V. THE AUTHENTIC IDEAL: FORM AS A CONTROLLING AGENT IN THE
VISUAL EXPERIENCE.................................................75
Form Defines Space..............................................80
The Arrangement of Form in Space................................82
Identifying a Visual Narrative..................................89
Historical Texts that Influence Perceptions of Gender...........93
Final Remarks on Form...........................................97
VI. CONCLUSION: DISRUPTING THE VISUAL EXPERIENCE..................99
REFERENCES.......................................................105
vii


LIST OF FIGURES
FIGURE
1 Barbara Kruger, Montage, 1981...................................................10
2 Femme nue assise (Seated Nude), 1909-1910.......................................15
3 Capitoline Venus, 2nd Century AD, Marble, National Gallery of Art, Washington...16
4 Praxiteles, Aphrodite ofKnidos (c. 330 B.C.)....................................17
5 Sandro Botticellis Birth of Venus (1482-1485), and Masaccios Expulsion of Adam
and Eve (1422-26 Brancacci Chapel, Florence)......................................17
6 Hexagon........................................................................31
7 Albrecht Durer, Mens Bath (1498) alongside Womens Bath (1496).................41
8 Vier nackte Frauen (Vier Hexen) (Four Witches), Albrecht Durer, Kupferstich,
Nurnberg 1497.....................................................................44
9 Young Hare, Albrecht Durer, 1502, watercolor...................................52
10 Great Piece of Turf Albrecht Durer, 1503 watercolor............................52
11 A Crab, Albrecht Durer, 1495................................................. 53
12 Example of Linear Perspective and the vanishing point..........................54
13 Brunelleschi Perspective Method...............................................57
14 Man drawing a vase, Albrecht Durer, about 1525................................. 58
15 Albertis Visual Pyramid showing point E (the viewer) aligned with the centric point
G.................................................................................59
16 Alberti's visualization of the vanishing point................................59
17 Benozzo Gozzolis Saint Augustine Reading Rhetoric in Rome,, 1464..............60
18 Orthogonal perspective lines indicating vanishing point (or point of infinity).61
viii


19 Leonardo Da Vinci, Last Supper, (1494-1498),with orthogonal perspective lines..62
20 Orthogonal lines show vanishing point at man's heart...........................64
21 Albrecht Diirer, Womans Bath (1496)........................................... 67
22 Masaccios Trinity, 1425....................................................70
23 Masaccios Trinity (1425) showing orthogonal lines, vanishing point, and position of
viewer..........................................................................71
24 Showing man's position aligned with vanishing point............................72
25 Vier Bucher, Construction Lines of Woman.......................................76
26 Left Foot, Constructed, Book 1 of the Vier Bucher...............................77
27 The Head constructed by means of the "transfer method" or "Ubertrag." A triangular
grid is used to "reflect" each measurement at right angles from its original plane.78
28 Stereometric man............................................................78
29 Draftsman Drawing a Reclining Woman, Durer, 1525...............................79
30 Albrecht Durer, Sketch, Vier Bucher von Menschlicher Proportion................80
31 Durer bath scenes, side by side to evaluate form in space......................83
32 Apollo and Diana, Albrecht Durer, 1505, Engraving...........................87
33 Fall of Man (Adam and Eve), Albrecht Durer, 1504, Engraving.....................88
34 Albrecht Durer, Bath Attendant, 1493, drawing..................................91
ix


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
THE FALLIBILITY OF VISUAL EXPERIENCE
In 1981, artist Barbara Kruger, in the midst of battling essentialist ideologies,
composed an untitled abstract montage in which the words Your gaze hits the side of my
face lie over a photographic image of a side view of a female bust.1 Certain visual
elements utilized by the artist in this print nourish the viewers perception, purposefully,
in order to guide our understanding of the narrative which she is trying to convey.
Richard Wollheim in his piece What the
Spectator Sees, says that the artist [creates] in
order to produce a certain experience in the
mind of the spectator.2 In this light we have to
start our analysis from the position of the artist-
for the artist takes on both roles of artist and
spectator.3 By understanding Krugers
perspective, as artist, we uncover Krugers
gendered dialogue- her social perception of
women. James Elkins describes perspective(s)
as expressive of the cultures that invented them. He suggests that perspective is one of
1 Preziosi, 350.
2 Wollheim, Richard, and Rob Van Gerwen. Richard Wollheim on the Art of Painting: Art as
Representation and Expression. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2001. Print.
3 Bryson, 101-102.
10


many languages artists can use to express emotions.4 So, what is Kruger trying to say,
and how does perspective play a part in this particular image?
Erwin Panofsky defines perspective as a type of window: For us, perspective in
the strict sense is the capacity so to represent several objects in one area of space that the
appearance of a material surface is entirely displaced by the appearance of a transparent
plane, beyond which we believe we see an imaginary space, occupied by whole objects in
apparent succession and cut but not delimited by the borders of the picture.5 Perspective,
in this way, becomes a tool for ordering forms in a particular window of space. Upon
further inspection of the Kruger piece, we recognize first that she purposefully orders, or
patterns, particular forms in space for a particular reason; her purpose being to produce a
certain expressive experience in the viewers mind. The viewer is presented with, not
flesh and blood, but a black and white stone figure illuminated by an overhead spotlight
that accentuates the perfection of the facial features. Here Kruger references the ancient
ideology of the ideal form in that the idea of perfection can only be achieved in art not
through reflections of the real, tangible, and imperfect human form. While the spotlight
allows us to perceive the female bust as a 3-dymentional figure shadows are logically
formed where the light is blocked,6 for example, where the overarching brow creates a
shadowed eye. While our gaze looks steadily on, we are not allowed any notion of where
the womans eyes are; are they downcast, looking out of the frame into the distance, or
does she have eyes at all? One could read this as the shadow denying her the power of
sight all together, subsequently empowering our gaze; the viewers gaze. Just as shadow
4 Elkins, 15-17.
5 Elkins, 13.
6 Edwards, 182.
11


is an element that manipulates the viewers perception, so too, do the words which are
aligned along the left side of the montage. These words are strategically positioned in
such a way as to accent the power and the violence that coincides with the act of looking
and inspecting. For example, the word gaze is parallel with the shadowed eye of the
bust. This shadowing, in effect, empowers our eye. The word hits lays across the
cheek, attesting to not only the violence of the act of looking, but, one could argue, to the
violence of objectifying this female all together. The positioning of the words forces the
direction our eye travels, giving us, the viewer, power over this space. So, in the act of
looking, the viewers gaze subjects what is being viewed.
If read in this way, it can be understood that Krugers piece stresses not only the
fact that women are, and have been, looked at in this habitual, established fashion, but
also she emphasizes the role and relationship of the viewer to the entity being viewed
the visual experience, in other words. She stresses the manipulative power of
perspective. In this way she problematizes the act of looking and being looked at. She
questions the tradition of how we have come to learn to look and seeboth of which
produce different perceptual outcomes.
Donald Preziosi suggests that Krugers art is always gender-specific, emphasizing
the instability and fluctuation of womens identity.7 With this particular piece, Kruger
adopts the masculinity of the act of looking, the way it objectifies and masters.8 Put
simply, she emphasizes that the subject/object relationship is gendered and favors the
male as viewer and female as the thing being viewed. In fact, Krugers artwork regularly
questions the viewer about gender relationships and the female role. As John Berger
7 Preziosi, 350.
8 Preziosi, 350.
12


states in his book Ways of Seeing, Women are depicted in a quite different way from
men- not because the feminine is different from the masculine -but because the ideal
spectator is always assumed to be male and the image of the woman is designed to flatter
him.9 Kruger uses perspective and form in such a way as to influence the viewers
perception of womens social standing. Thus, she points out our way of looking by
purposefully constructing the masculine perspective, then calls attention to it with the
words. In this way, instead of passively observing the images, Kruger wants the viewer to
delve deeper and actively perceive an underlying message of womens subjugation to the
masculine gaze. If Krugers argument (that vision and optics are masculine) and if what
Berger states (that men are the ideal spectator causing women to be subjected to the male
gaze) is true, then I tend to wonder if this tradition of visual experience is a trans
historical phenomenon; or in other words, have our cognitive memories been encoded
with specific gender patterns that align with gender stereotypes? And if so, how does
perspective play into how we look and see form in artspecifically the male and female
forms. As viewers, have we been conditioned to look in such a manner that favors
masculine dominance? Do artists construct subconscious gendered dialogues in their art
through the use of such things like perspective and form? I question the visual
experience and want to investigate it here.
The Fallibility of the Visual Experience
In an effort to focus this study of the visual experience on the perspective and
form, lets move backward in time to the turn of the twentieth century. Robert Zimmer
recounts a story of an American solders encounter with the artist Picasso while stationed
9 Berger, 64.
13


in France during World War II, and his qualm with which the soldier had with the artists
ability to represent reality and truth:
The soldier took Picasso to task for not producing realistic pictures and, to
illustrate the ideal form which Picasso has fallen so far short, he pulled out a
photograph of his fiancee back home saying: This is what a picture should look
like. Picasso looked carefully at the photograph and said: Your girlfriend is
rather small, isnt she?10
This short account substantiates the argument that ones knowledge and perceptions
about human experienceand visual experienceare decidedly influenced by a dynamic
two-way interaction between the eye of the viewer and the imagery being viewed. This
interaction occurs at a subconscious level, but is initiated by historical and ideological
traditions. Youguo Pi describes in his article Theory of Cognitive Pattern Recognition,
that tradition and experience do play a part in pattern recognition, saying that, Generally,
pattern recognition refers to a process of inputting stimulating (pattern) information and
matching with the information in long-term memory, then recognizing the category
which the stimulation belongs to. Therefore, pattern recognition depends on peoples
knowledge and experience.11 The problem with pattern recognition is that brain patterns
are hard to dismantle. Pi explains further that, Without involving individuals
knowledge and experience, people cannot understand the meanings of the stimulating
information pattern inputted, then neither [is it] possible to recognize the patterns, which
means to recognize the objects.12 So, the American soldiers conception of the ideal
form developed from his interaction and relationship with not only his fiancee, but also
with the onslaught of consistent stimulating information patterns that claimed to represent
10 Zimmer, Robert. "Abstraction in Art with Implications for Perception." Philosophical Transactions:
Biological Sciences 358.1435 (2003): 1285-1291. Print.
11 Pi, 434.
12 Pi, 435.
14


true, ideal beauty throughout his life. The soldiers anxiety over Picassos inadequacy in
representing true form echoes the extensive discourse about the power of perception
(mainly the interplay between perspective and form in creating cognitive information
patterns). Our perceptions of thingsor how we see thingsare deeply rooted in how
we have been trained to look at them; and such as it is with many things, including
gender identity. Picasso, in questioning the size of the soldiers girlfriend, however,
points out the fallibility of visual experience.
Scholars have argued that Pablo Picasso challenged, in his artwork, the traditional
artistic Renaissance perspective and charted a new way of depicting reality, thus
critiquing, criticizing, and commenting on conventional ways of looking at art and this
fallibility of visual experience. The
artist himself once suggested that art is a
lie that makes us realize the truth. To
highlight this point further, lets turn to
Pablo Picassos oil painting titled Femme
nue assise (Seated Nude) 13 (1909-1910),
to evaluate what is the lie, and what truth
the artist wants us to realize.14
13 See Figure 2, Pablo Picasso Femme nue assise (Seated Nude) (1909-1910).
14 Keep in mind that in the French translation, the word nude assumes the feminineFemme nue assise,
or Nude Woman Sitting. In the English translation Femme was removed, and the title translates to Seated
Nude.
Figure 2 Femme nue assise (Seated Nude), 1909-1910
15


When we look at the Seated Nude, the viewers first reaction may be one of
confusion. On an unconscious level the viewer tries to identify recognizable form, but is
unable to do so here. This visual montage of strong lines, monochromatic colors, and
geometric shapes, enables the artist to create the illusion of space and to mediate visual
experience through a distinct geometric approach (distinct to the Cubist movement). But,
as stated, the viewer is faced withat first glanceno cohesive, recognizable form.
With or without knowing the title, the viewers are challenged by the artist to make
assumptions as to what he was trying to do here. Much like the American soldier, our
concept of the ideal form arouses our prejudice for or against this image. Because we
do not understand the image before us at first glance, we
then search for recognizable forms, and in so doing
inevitably attempt to find the ideal form. It becomes a
guessing game, in which the viewer searches for the
recognizable tropes one associates with the traditional
nude in art history. Unfortunately, our most forthright
impressions of any nude in the history of art is
associated with the female nude, rather than the male.
Granted Michelangelos David is probably the most
recognizable nude, but I would argue that more
renditions of the female nude have been done
throughout the history of art versus that of the male
Figure 3 Capita line Venus, 2nd Century
AD, Marble, National Gallery of
Art, Washington
16


nude. So, is Picassos piece a modern rendition of the
Venus Pudica?15 16 What we are actually looking at
however, is merely, as noted, a combination of arranged
geometric shapes traditional to the Cubist movement. But,
what most assume they are looking at (or subconsciously
construct out of those unrecognizable shapes, colors and
lines) is a female nude with an elongated neck, lightly
tilting her head to the right, her left hand gently resting on
her right thigh while her right hand rises to cover her
breast (some even see her tenderly cradling a baby to her
Figure 4 Praxiteles, Aphrodite of
Knidos (c. 330B.C.)
breast); not dissimilar to Praxiteles Aphrodite of Knidos (c. 330 B.C.), or Sandro
Figure 5 Sandro Botticellis Birth of Venus (1482-1485), and Masaccios Expulsion of Adam and Eye (1422-
26 Brancacci Chapel, Florence)
15 See Figure 3 Capitoline Venus, 2nd Century AD, Marble, National Gallery of Art, Washington
16 The Venus Pudica being a term used in art history to describe a classical pose. More specifically, In
this [pose], an unclothed female (either standing or reclining) keeps one hand covering her private
parts.. .The resultant pose which is not, incidentally, applicable to the male nude is somewhat
asymmetrical and often serves to draw one's eye to the very spot being hidden. The word "pudica" comes
to us by way of the Latin "pudendus", which can mean either external genitalia or shame, or both
simultaneously, (Venus Pudica. Art History. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2013.).
17


Botticellis Birth of Venus (1482-1485), or Masaccios Expulsion of Adam and Eve
(1422-26 Brancacci Chapel, Florence).
In a recent informal poll of approximately 50 people I asked participants to
explain what they saw in Picassos image. None of the viewers had seen this image prior
to my experiment nor did I give them the title in English or French, but the majority
claimed to be looking at a similar image. First, about 70% claimed to see a human form.
The rest did not conceive any recognizable form. Roughly two-thirds saw the image I
described above. They each detailed the female nude differently, but all confirmed that
they saw a female. While, the last third of the group said that they either did not see a
human form at all or that the human form they recognized was that of a male. Their
rationale for this form being male was because of the way the artist constructed the
shouldersto be broad and squared, rather than rounded and shallow.
This limited study gave me insight to Picassos statement about art being a lie that
reveals the truth. In Picassos Seated Nude, the truth revealed is that the way in which
the viewer looks at visual stimuli has been constructed by previous ideological
components that inevitably influence their behavior, reaction, and understanding. Or in
other words, what the viewer sees when looking is in fact constructed by their pre-
conditioned expectations. In essence, lookers will often see what they expect to see. The
various ideological frameworks within which they exist influence their visual
expectations and interpretations. Picasso recognized that in disfiguring the traditional
nude female, viewers may come to the understanding that the vast majority of images we
look at do not represent reality and truth. Similarly, it can be assumed by the viewer that
Picasso intentionally painted this seated nude with specific attributes that resembled that
18


of the traditional Venus pudica (modest Venus), showing the female figure modestly
attempting to conceal her breasts and pubic area. While it is easy to speculate the artists
intentions, what is readily apparent is that Picasso deconstructs that traditional female
formthe one the viewer is accustomed to looking atand reconfigures the perspective
in both aesthetic and symbolic ways in order to introduce a new way of seeing the
human figure. Picasso is introducing to the surveying public a new way of experiencing
the visual. Thus, as Ive noted, our visual perceptions of thingsor how we see things
are deeply rooted in how we have been trained to look at them; or, concurrently, how
cognitive patterns of recognition are built from persistent cultural narratives. Picasso, in
questioning the size of the soldiers girlfriend and disfiguring the female ideal form,
encourages his audience to move beyond the ideal (or patterns of recognition) and
experience the real. He encourages his viewer not to merely look at an image, but to
really see it.
Krugers and Picassos images reflect the logic of this thinking because they both
force viewers to confront their expectations by distorting familiar formseither with
textual overlay or analytic cubism. In this study I tackle two poorly studied but complex
images by Northern Renaissance artist, Albrecht Diirer, with an eye to using this method
of analysis I used in examining Krugers and Picassos images. I consider Diirers print
and drawing respectively, Mens Bath (1498) and Womens Bath (1496), with the goal of
understanding how the visual experience functioned discursively for Diirer and his
audience. As I question above, I believe that, in certain instances, perspective and form
are used to intentionally construct perceptions of gender and call attention to the
masculinity of visual experiences in Western cultural tradition. Certain visual elements
19


(perspective and form) utilized by Diirer nourish the viewers perception, purposefully, in
order to guide our understanding of the narratives which Diirer is trying to convey. How
Diirers images participate in this dialogue will become more apparent, I hope, when I
analyze Diirers use of perspective and form in: Mens Bath (1498) and The Womens
Bath (1496)showing how the visual experience favors the male spectator. I reflect on
how vision- looking and seeing- work to create a gendered space in which an assuming
audiences participates.
Literature Review: Thoughts on the Sense of Sight
It can be argued that human experience is ruled by the senses. Sight, being the
superior of these, has the greatest influence on ones understanding of the world. When
discussing the visual experience, vision, and the dominance of this particular human
sense, Euclid believes that the eye is the active participant in the visual process with the
ability to construct meaning.17 Leon Battista Alberti, whose works initial purpose was to
establish the rudiments of optical geometry external to the eye, and their consequences
for the painter,18 during the Renaissance, takes up this conversation on the eye and the
importance of sight in his prominent work On Painting, when he suggests that the eye is
more powerful than anything, more swift than anything, more worthy than anything.19
Additionally, in highlighting the dominance of sight and the function of the eye in
determining understanding and experience, Bruno Snell notes Greek epistemology,
suggesting that Knowledge (eidenai) is the state of having seen, and the Nous is the
17 Lindberg, David C. Theories of Vision fromAl-Kindi to Kepler. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1981.
13. Print.
18 Kemp, 13.
19 Kemp, Martin. Introduction. On Painting. By Leon Battista. Alberti. Trans. Cecil Grayson. London [etc.:
Penguin, 2004. 11. Print.
20


mind in its capacity as an absorber of images.20 Similarly, Ashley Montagu proposes
that images are physical manifestations that interact with human vision, potentially
causing a powerful physiological reaction from the viewer. She submits that vision is
often called the censor of the senses.. .an arbiter of behavior, and inhibitor or stimulus
thereto.21 Because of the inter-relativity of human sight and imagery, it is important,
then, to note the process of image production which involves theorists and artists
exploring artistic operations and developments in space and form.
It has been suggested that space, in terms of art, is not something that can be
defined, only felt. Many prominent historical figures, however, have taken up the
challenge of defining space in geometrical as well as philosophical terms. It has been
argued that the modern term spaceto denote a specific area or regionwas not used
until the Renaissance.22 Though ancient writers such as Archimedes, Apollonius, Euclid,
and Aristotle wrote on mathematical topics that played a hand in influencing the modern
concept of space. Rudolf Amheim points out the definition of space in simple
mathematical terms, suggesting that Geometry tells us that three dimensions suffice to
describe the shape of any solid and the locations of objects relative to one another in any
given moment.23 James Elkins, on the other hand, explains that this term space is too
complex to define in simple terms, because of the many ways in which we use it in our
vernacular on a daily basis. He explains that a preliminary approach to this mixture of
meanings is to try to distinguish between a space we can understand in everyday life and
spaces that require some mathematic, philosophic, or physical concepts in order to make
20 Snell, 198.
21 Jay, 10.
22 Elkins, 22.
23 Amheim, 218.
21


sense.24 The space we inhabit in everyday life, however, is a phenomenon that is an
idiosyncratic element when describing human experience. Are humans not described,
distinguished, and labelled based on the spaces we inhabit? One aspect of the visual
world that cannot be overcome by simple definition, as Arnheim suggests, is the
distinction between objects and the surrounding empty space.25 Vernon Hyde Minor
annotates Leon Battista Alberti when he describes this idea that the visual world is an
extension of our own personal space, thus creating a specific, inseparable connection
between spaces. Space, then, describes our immediate surroundings, as in an area
provided for a particular purpose.26 When discussing the artistic process of producing
spaces, the illusion of creating that three-dimensional space is a relatively recent
development in Western history. It was Filippo Brunelleschi who ignited the
conversation of bridging the mathematical space with the philosophical space. From then
on, artists and the like, forged new meaning and new methods of creating that sense of
space in art. The use of perspective in art made possible the ability for an artist to control
the spectator in space.27
Perspective was discovered during the Renaissance, and artists of that time
utilized this artistic invention as a way to explore and create space. It was Rene Descartes
who, in his work Discourse on Method, Optics, Geometry, and Meteorology, elaborates
on the hierarchy of the senses, suggesting that all the management of our lives depends
on these senses, and since that of sight is the most comprehensive and the noblest of
these, there is no doubt that the inventions which serve to augment its power are among
24 Elkins, 27.
25 Arnheim, 219.
26 Elkins, 27.
27 Zelanski, 101.
22


the most useful that there can be.28 Perspective, as it is argued, is an artistic invention
that augments the power of sight. Additionally, [Visual] perspective.. .is the way in
which objects appear to the eye based on their spatial attributes; or their dimensions and
the position of the eye relative to the objects.29 While Leon Battista Alberti elaborates
on the importance of the construction of perspectival space, philosophers such as
Descartes, and German mathematicians like Johannes Kepler, take this topic a step
further and hypothesizes on eye function, vision, light, and the perfection of vision
through such means as the implementation of perspective.
These theorists have been monumental in establishing the discourse on vision and
eye function, and influenced, for example, more recent work done by Rudolf Arnheim, a
perceptual psychologist and art theorist. Taking a more modern view of the senses,
Arnheim maintains that our experience and ideas tend to be common but not deep, or
deep but not common. We have neglected the gift of comprehending things through our
senses...Our eyes have been reduced to instruments that which to identify and to measure;
hence we suffer a paucity of ideas that can be expressed in images and an incapacity to
discover meaning in what we see.30 Arnheim believes that it is through the senses,
especially that of sight, that truth and knowledge about human experience can be found-
much like Bruno Snell and those theorists before his time.
The lengthy discourse on vision and visuality is an extensive topic that has
transcended time and place, and has developed into two distinct veins since Euclids
28 Descartes, Rene. Discourse on Method, Optics, Geometry, and Meteorology. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett
Pub., 2001. Print. Emphasis added.
29 Edgerton, Samuel. "Perspective." New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. 18
Apr. 2013 .
30 Arnheim, 1.
23


exploration of the eye: scientific perspective and metaphorical perspective. Having been
taken up by such current thinkers as J. D. Bernal, Martin Kemp, and Samuel Y. Edgerton,
these authors explore the scientific and mathematical aspects of rationally ordering a
scene through the use of perspective in relation to technologies of optics and artistic
practices- how artist order and construct reality through the science of perspective. For
example, the Marxist historian and scientist J. D. Bernal asserts that "the Renaissance
enabled a scientific revolution which let scholars look at the world in a different light.
Religion, superstition, and fear were replaced by reason and knowledge.31 The science
of perspective, during the Renaissance, reinforced this world view that knowledge,
reason, and science were superior to previous ideologies- and sight was the mode at
which one received knowledge and reason through ordered reflection and observation.
Martin Kemp, author of The Science of Art: Optical themes in western art from
Brunelleschi to Seurat, writes that perspective (specifically linear perspective) was
assumed to be comprised of geometrical procedures [that] provided an appropriate
means for the representation of three-dimensional objects on a flat surface in such a way
that the projection presented essentially the same visual arrangement of the eye as that
presented by the original objects.32 So, like Bernal, Kemp describes the use and
techniques of scientific perspective as a way of forming and positioning objects,
logically, onto a flat surface in such a way as to reflect the order and rationality of what
one looks at in reality.
Additionally, this view projected onto the arts. When speaking about the artistic
use of linear perspective, Edgerton recounts the artistic use of perspective during the
31 Bernal, 58-66.
32 Kemp, 165.
24


Renaissance. In his work titled The Renaissance Rediscovery of Linear Perspective, he
explains the advent of linear perspective, saying, The new Quattrocento mode of
representation was based on the assumption that visual space is ordered a priori by an
abstract, uniform system of linear coordinates. The artist need only fix himself in one
position for the objective field to relate to this single vantage point. He can then
represent the objects in his picture in such a way that the viewer can apprehend the scene
exactly as if he were standing in the same place as the artist.33 Thus, utilizing
perspective in art establishes the inspecting subject, and his object of observation.
Edgertons assertions also reinforce this interminable theory that through perspective
artists can order the world to represent knowledge, experience, and actuality. Though
challenges to geometrical optics arose through such arguments that suggested that the
natural judgment of the eye creates instability which leads to optical distortions, it was
argued that the ambiguities of sight could in themselves be rationally analyzed within
the predominantly mathematical model of vision.34 Therefore, prominent figures
mathematicians like Descartes and artists like Albrecht Diirer alikeconsumed this
visual technology as a way of ordering reality.
More recently, the conversation about vision and perspective has evolved into a
narrative about the psychological or cogitative relationship that viewers have with art- as
a function of awareness and impressions on the subjective mind. James Elkins writes
that Perspective has no canonical site, no single definition or description that can
provide an adequate or standard account of what it is.35 He suggests that perspective,
33 Edgerton, 7.
34 Kemp, 165.
35 Elkins, James. The Poetics of Perspective. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1994. Print.
25


though deeply rooted in scientific practices noted by both Alberti and Descartes, has
developed into what he calls perspective as a metaphor. He suggests that as a
metaphor, perspective is a powerful concept for ordering our perception and accounting
for our subjectivity.36 As time progressed, challenges to perspectival techniques
resulted from changing world views aboutas Martin Kemp observes how we see,
how we unscramble sensory impressions, how we understand, [how we make sense of
what we see], and how the senses relate to each other.37 Furthermore, Marita Sturken
and Lisa Cartwright, in their book Practices of Looking, also have shown that a central
part of looking is about the particular relationship of a spectator to a specific image at a
specific moment in time and place. The world of [linear] perspective indicates the desire
for vision to be stable and unchanging and for the meaning of images to be fixed, when
the act of looking is in fact highly changeable and contextual.38 This metaphorical vein
about the sense of sight developed as the world view about the self, and the relationship
of the self to nature, changed. And, the ensuing theories of vision change as an inevitable
consequence as well. James Elkins elaborates on those changes that developed in the
succeeding centuries. He argues that perspective practices came to be imagined less as
an import from geography into painting than as a kind of picture making, akin to
painting, which involved the viewer and the viewed in an especially radical dynamic.39
From this changing world view, artists were able to explore the changing theories of
vision and implement dynamic visual elements that questioned the relationship of the
viewer to the object being viewed, whether that object be color, lines, or persons. The
36 Elkins, James. The Poetics of Perspective. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1994. Print.
37 Kemp, 165.
38 Sturken, 114.
39 Elkins, xiii.
26


fact that the meaning of images is not fixed- that the ways in which images are
arranged and ordered- plays an important role in subsequent arguments about the
relationship between perspective, perception, looking, and being looked at.
Additionally, Robert L. Solsos work Cognition and the Visual Arts, attests to
these ideas. In Solsos view, art is intimately related to cognition. Our visual perceptions
of reality are based on culturally preconceived notions about identity and existence. The
essence of Solsos argument is that because our [visual] perception of the world is
swayed by our concept of how things should appear.. .a collective image or prototype of
people, objects, things, ideas, and the like [influences artistic relationships].40 Here,
Solso echoes this doctrine of metaphoric perspective by suggesting that the way we
Took varies from how we see.
These two veins which have been identified here the scientific and the
metaphoricessentially work together in creating the discourse on visual experience.
One influences the development of the other, and so the practices of perspective cannot
be ignored when trying to understand the processes at which we perceive images. Bryan
Jay Wolf suggests that Though the visual culture of the last four centuries has varied
enormously dependent as it is upon changing technologies of perception ([the grid], the
camera obscura, photography, cinema, the billboard) -the ways of seeing that underlie it
have remained... remarkably consistent. 41 It is from this tradition of vision theory,
scholarship on how we see, and the relationships between the observer and the observed,
that gender and feminist inquiry into artistic practices and past imagery was influenced.
It was Svetlana Aplers who asserts that images display disguised symbolic messages
40 Solso, 187.
41 Wolf, 12.
27


about social and cultural issues of an era, and hide their meaning beneath realistic
surfaces.42 And, this is done through perspective and form. And to attest to this idea,
Jonathan Crary discusses the tradition of subjectivity and objectivityboth social and
cultural issueswhen he describes the composition of visual perception. He explains,
Subjective observation is not the inspection of an inner space or a theater of
representations. Instead, observation is increasingly exteriorized; the viewing body and
its objects begin to constitute a single field on which inside and outside are
confounded.. .both observer and observed are subject to the same modes of empirical
study.43 So, technologies of arti.e. perspective and formtend to complement rather
than change existing patterns of social behavior. This thought is apparent when we
examine both veins of perspective- the scientific and metaphoric as well as form, under
the umbrella of feminist critique.
Next, it is hard to divorce ourselves from feminist thought and critique when
examining discourses about form- especially that of the ideal human form. It is form
that occupies space, and the ways in which form functions within a given space has a way
of influencing human perceptions as well. Much like the Picasso Seated Nude, form
manifests itself through a collaboration of shape, color, and space. The discourse on
form has not only been taken up by older art theorists like Leon Battista Alberti,
Leonardo da Vinci, Cennino dAndrea Cennini, and Albrecht Diirer, but also more
modern critics such as Per Aage Brandt, Charlotte Jirousek, Rudolf Arnheim, Kenneth
Clark in his work The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form, Pavel Machotka in his work The
Nude: Perception and Personality, as well as others such as Kathleen Adler and Marcia
42 Alpers, xxiv.
43 Crary, 73.
28


Pointon, Edward Hill, Jane L. Carroll and Alison G. Stewart, and Lynda Nead. Again, in
art, form is executed both in a scientific manner as well as in a metaphorical mien.
Charlotte Jirousek describes form in this manner: Form and shape are areas or masses
which define objects in space. Form and shape imply space; indeed they cannot exist
without space. 44 She describes that form manifests itself as either organic or geometric.
Geometric forms are those that correspond with the recognizable shapes such as circle,
square, rectangles, cones, etc.45 The organic forms, however, are those that are of
irregular contours that happen due to natural forceslike fallen snow on rolling hills. So
form, like space, when approached in the geometric manner, is controlled in the three-
dimensional space in which it functions, while form approached in the metaphorical
sense, represent nature.
Similarly, the painter Ben Shahn, in discussing form, was quoted saying, Form is
the visible shape of content.46 Rudolf Arnheim demonstrates the metaphoric way of
defining form and its intimate relationship to content, when he points out that form
always goes beyond the practical function of things by finding in their shape the visual
qualities of roundness or sharpness, strength or frailty, harmony or discord. It thereby
reads them symbolically as images of the human condition.47 In addition to this
conversation of form and its relationship to human experience, Douglas Graves points out
the importance of, specifically, the female form in the education of young artists. He
suggests that the study of the female [form] is indispensable to the education and
44 Jirousek, Charlotte. "Form, Shape and Space." Form, Shape and Space. Cornell University, 1995. Web.
27 Sept. 2013.
45 Jirousek, Form, Shape and Space.'
46 Arnheim, 96.
47 Arnheim, 97.
29


experience of the artists, (Douglas Graves, Figure Painting in Oil, 1979). But, as Carol
Duncan observes, an adverse historical discourse has developed about the status of the
female based on this prevalence of the female form in Western art history. Imagery of
the female form have become fictitious representations of human experience. So, in a
sense they are metaphors, perhaps, of something else. Lynda Nead quotes Duncan
saying, their status as members of the community, their right to its public space, their
share in the common, culturally defined identity, is not quite the sameis somehow less
equal than mans.48 In this discussion ofform, another denotative dialogue has
developed out of this discourse ofform in art, thus leaving us to wonder about whether
the motivations of artists and their use of form.
Methodology: Looking and Seeing Explained
In using the words looking and seeing, and perspective and form in my analysis
above, I have made some assumptions that I will unpack here before moving on with the
analysis of Diirers two images. Let me provide a better understanding of how I
differentiate the terms. To look is a physical act that is implicit in the nature and science
of the human eye. But to see means to interpret or make meaning through the
assumptions and ideologies of ones culture and place. Looking and seeing play an
important role when discussing the nature of how one sees and how one constructs
meaning from what they see. Looking, in this way, I equate with passive reception,
while seeing is more complex and can be considered active perceiving.49 Passive
reception involves the formal operations of the eyethe cognitive processes of retinal
48 Nead, 46.
49 Amheim, 14.
30


projection.50 While active perceiving involves an in depth analysis of all parts of an
imagefrom the production process to the final productto determine the social
processes at work in creating any image. Reading this essay, in a sense, is representative
of the active perceiving process.
For example, if we look as Figure 7, passive reception of this image means that
our eyes process the shape and determine (based on the dictates of cognitive pattern
recognition) that this is a hexagon. But, active perceiving involves exploring deeper the
relationship of the lines and seeing beyond the prescribed two dimensional shape, and
realizing that we are also seeing a three dimensional
box. Because initial cognitive pattern recognition
determines our initial perception of this image, if we
are to actively perceive the three dimensional box we
must train our eye to see beyond the prescribed
patternwe have to train our eye to see differently.
Figure 6 Hexagon
It has been suggested that meanings of
images are created in a complex relationship among producer, viewer, image, and social
context... [Therefore] images present to viewers clues about their dominant meaning.51
The visual dimensions of any imagesuch as line, shape, space, form, and contextare
artistic clues that provide the framework in which narratives unfold in image making.
In this essay I intend to focus on two artistic clues: perspective and form, two elements
that are essential in the process of creating an image. I examine how they operate to
influence the visual experience.
50 Amheim, 14.
51 Sturken, 56.
31


With regards to the terms perspective and form I turn to the dictionary: the
Latin word perception, means to take in or to comprehend. Indeed, Rudolph
Arnheims 1970s work on the psychology of artistic perception helps frame this
discussion. He suggests that while our perception is subject to the influence of learning,
human percepts are complex constructions of simple elements joined through
association [or through relationships]. One could say thenabout perceptionthat this
term is in harmony with what I described as seeing or how a viewer constructs meaning
from what he sees. Perspective, on the other hand, is both a scientific and an artistic
mode for finding and identifying relationships- relationships between subject and object,
for example. Perspective influences how one sees or how we are to look. It functions
as a way of creating space and allowing the viewer to insert herself/himself into the
artwork seen. In the technical framework, the use of perspective helps to answer
questions like: what, and where is an object? Additionally, this term perspective also
refers to the effects artistic elements have on the appearance of an overall image. In other
words, it functions as a tool for creating context. In this light, perspective also answers
the question: what is an object doing? In these two modes of thought, perspective works
as tools for influencing visual perception, allowing an artist to bring life and meaning (a
narrative) to color and shapes.
While perspective works to inform relationships, form influences visual
experience in that it informs the audiences about human experienceabout truth. Rudolf
Arnheim suggests that form always goes beyond the practical function of things by
finding in their shape the visual qualities of roundness or sharpness, strength or frailty,
harmony or discord. It thereby reads them symbolically as images of the human
32


condition. In fact, these purely visual qualities of appearance are the most powerful of
all.52 Artists and theorists alike have worked together to establish what is meant by
true or ideal form. But therein lies my contention. In the pursuit of truth, or the ideal
form, artists depict, as Arnheim implies, what he knows rather than what he sees; he
blindly adopts the pictorial conventions of his peers; he perceives wrongly because of
defects in his eyes or his nervous system; he applies the correct principles from an
abnormal point of view; he deliberately violates the rules of correct representation.53
This is where my specific argument takes shape. Though regarded as a scientific artist,
Diirers representation of gender in the two bath scenes adhere to social conventions (the
chronic pattern of gender identity), rather than an authentic portrayal of social life.
As Jonathan Crary argues, representational techniques, like perspective and form,
link contemporary imagery to older organizations of the visual,54 thereby creating
continuity in perceptions of reality. As artistic techniques of continuity, perspective and
form are representational modes of creating imagery that ultimately fashions a specific
kind of visual experience; these techniques reinforce those cognitive patterns of
recognition with relation to gender hierarchy. When questioning artistic representations
of cultural gender hierarchy, this continuity is problematic in that modem perceptions of
gender roles stand in a continuum with older cultural ideologies. Artists depict what they
know, not what is seen. I aim to examine how gendered power relations exist in the art of
Albrecht Diirer, and show that these relations are implicated in the nature of artistic
visual dimensions, such as perspective and form. In essence, I aim to, first, examine the
52 Arnheim, 97.
53 Arnheim, 97.
54 Crary, 2.
33


nature of how one sees by examining the art and science of perspective; and second, how
one constructs meaning from what they look at by examining visual elements that
influence perceptions of a given composition, like form. In this thesis, I intend to answer
the question: how does Albrecht Diirer create a gendered space? I look at how Diirer
treats perspective and form in the hopes of revealing much about Renaissance artists
beliefs and concerns in general about the social and cultural positions of men and women
in society. I also hope to provide clues as to how the narratives of the active male and
passive female have transcended time and place, propelled by forces that are manifest
in the process of creating visual imagery, or, what I call visual narratives. I argue that
gendered hierarchy is a function of form and perspectival techniques and is evident in
Northern Renaissance artwork; it is specifically evident in two of Albrecht Diirers
everyday scenes- Womens Bath (1496)55 and The Mens Bath (Das Mannerbad)
(1498)56. Perspective and form are used by Northern Renaissance artist Albrecht Diirer
as both a practical, scientific application as well as an artistic mode, in such a way that
intentionally constructs perceptions of gender identitycreating a gendered spaceand
complicates the subject/object relationship by depicting who owns that space, or who
owns perspective.57 In this way, I hope to expose the visual experience as ideologically
motivated.
Limitations to this Study
A final word about the limitations of this study. Although my own reading
German is quite good, two important texts by Durer, his Underweysung der Messung
55 See Image 1
56 See Image 2
57 Evans, 18.
34


(Manual of Measurements) and Vier Bucher von menschlicher Proportion (Four Books
on Human Proportion), were both written in his native High German during the
Renaissance. Unfortunately there are no translations of these text into English, and, thus,
my own German has not yet included Old High Germana very different beast than
modern colloquial or even academic German. I, along with two native German speakers
who incidentally found Renaissance German challenging at best, have tackled Durers
texts, and through secondary sources I have done my best to present the spirit of these
texts, but their does, for now, remain a language barrier I hope to rectify in the future.
Another limitation to this study is my choice of perspectival system. I have chosen to
explore only linear perspective or one-point perspective in my visual analyses. There are
other systems of perspective that were developed from linear one-point perspective, such
as intuitive perspective (developed by Jan Van Eyck), atmospheric, and aerial
perspective. These I leave for later exploration in other studies. My study focuses on
linear one-point perspective. Additionally, I offer this study not as a final statement on
the matter, but as a feminist intervention into the science of art. It seems to be that this
conversation about the science of art has been dominated by male scholars. While many
scholars make very astute observations, none take into consideration the ordering power
perspective and form have on gendereven when confronted with the notion that
perspective and the ideal form were implemented into imagery purely to create order and
control, and to influence perceptions in a particular manner.
Finally, my essay is an interdisciplinary study in which I hope to contribute a new
lens into the conversation of perspective and form, and how these two technical elements
of art can influence perceptions of gender. This study is a close reading of two
35


Renaissance works done by one artist, so some of my theories may not be universal. But,
I use Leonard Goldsteins sentiments about his work when describing my own: This is
an essay merely exploring, suggesting and offering solutions to certain problems which
have been the concern of scholars for a long time.581 bring in other works to explain my
principles and observations, but it is by no means universal. Or, maybe it is and should
therefore be explored in this fashion, through this particular lens, to a greater extent. I
have worked to make my conclusions and observation as sound as possible, and hope that
any untenable and flawed results and judgments I pose are going to stimulate further
conversation about gender and the visual experience. My hope is that we see the image
through the gendered lens, not merely passively encounter it.
58 Goldstein, 11.
36


CHAPTER II
DURERS GERMANY
Albrecht Diirer: The Naturalist
It is recorded that Albrecht Diirer sought to convey the importance of Nature as a
conduit to true knowledge. He says, But life in nature manifests the truth of these
things. Therefore observe it diligently, go by it and do not depart from nature arbitrarily,
imagining to find the better by thyself, for thou wouldst be misled. For, verily, art
[Kunst] is embedded in nature; he who can extract it has it.59 His aim as a naturalistic
artist was to convey truth. Erwin Panofsky proudly asserts that Diirers artwork set a
new standard of graphic perfection for more than a century, and served as models for
countless other prints, as well as for paintings, sculptures, enamels, tapestries, plaques
and faiences, and this not only in Germany, but also in Italy, in France, in the Low
Countries, in Russia, in Spain and indirectly even in Persia.60 It was due to his specific
trade in woodcuts and prints that made him an international star, so to speak. In the
fifteenth century, book printing, engraving, and woodcuts for the first time enabled the
individual to disseminate his ideas all over the world.61 Because of the bustling
enterprise in printing, Germany, and more specifically Nuremberg, became a major
player in the commercialization of art thus helping propel Diirers fame.
Born in the Imperial City of Nuremberg,62 on May 21, 1471 to a scant
goldsmith also named Albrecht, the young Diirer developed his skills as an artist at an
59 Smith, 73.
60 Panofsky, 4.
61 Panofsky, 3.
62 Diirer, v.
37


early age (some suggest as early as 12 years old). Erwin Panofsky outlines in his book
The Life and Art of Albrecht Diirer, that the elder Diirer came from a small town in
Hungary to study his craft with master goldsmith Hieronymus Holper. Upon marrying
Holpers daughter, Barbara, the elder Diirer and his wife bore eighteen children. As the
third eldest, the young Diirer was intended for goldsmithing and soon worked as his
fathers apprenticelearning the trade as well as familiarizing himself with the tools and
materials needed in this particular craft. It was here that he realized his talents as an
artist, and soon set out to become more adept at his natural gifts. Because of his
accomplishments with draftsmanship and his proficiency in his fathers trade, the young
Diirer, on November 30, 1486, left his fathers home and trade to become the apprentice
of the preeminent painter in NurembergMichel Wolgemut.63 Under Wolgemuts
instruction Diirer learned to handle the pen and the brush, to copy and draw from life, to
do landscapes in gouache and water color, and to paint with oils. Moreover, woodcuts
for illustrated books were produced in Wolgemuts workshop during Diirers
apprenticeship, and the most important of these books were printed on the presses of his
godfather, Anton Koberger, the greatest publisher in German.64 Under the tutelage of
Wolgemut, Koberger, and others like the wealthy merchant Schongauer brothers, Diirer
was able to surround himself with not only influential social figures, but also thrive in an
atmosphere where he could immerse himself in a liberal culture.65 He was not only
instructed in humanistic ideology, but also learned from scholars, mathematicians,
scientists, bishops, patricians, and noblemen. He extended his sphere of influence and
63 Panofsky, 4-5
64 Panofsky, 5.
65 Panofsky, 7.
38


sought artists and intellectuals of Italy soon after his marriage to Agnes Frey in 1494.
Though his marriage was doomed to fail, his career was not. Panofsky describes how
after Diirers first trip to Italy the beginning of the Renaissance in the Northern
Countries,66 took place. He suggests further that Diirer became at once possessed with
a passionate wish that was to become one of the persistent purposes of his life; he felt that
somehow the German artists should participate in the [Wiedererwachsung or
regrowth] of all the arts brought about by the Italians... "67 Diirers love for Italian art
and ideology is apparent in his own work. From his frequent trips south, the artists
developed a particular style of combining the ideal with the natural. This point is
important to note with relation to my argument.
Walter Strauss summarizes that Diirer left us a legacy of some six dozen
paintings, more than one hundred engravings, about 250 woodcuts, and more than a
thousand drawings, apart from three published books on theoretical subjects and
voluminous manuscripts.68 His two major works include, first, Underweysung der
Messung (Manual of Measurements) (1525) which focuses on linear geometry, and of
which is said that this was the first text on Euclidian geometry and the Renaissance
science of perspective written in vernacular language, specifically German, and therefore
accessible to ordinary craftsmen and artists.69 And, second, Vier Bucher von
Menschlicher Proportion (Four Books on Human Proportion) (1528), focuses on
exploring the human form in the artists search for the ideal. These two texts I will be
utilizing to explore linear perspective and form, alongside Diirers contemporarys texts
66 Panofsky, 8.
67 Panofsky, 8.
68 Diirer, v.
69 "CCA." CCA RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2014.
39


including Leon Battista Albertis On Painting (1435) and Leonardo da Vincis A Treatise
on Painting (1540).
Despite the volume of his work, Diirer was, as Walter Strauss suggests,
Germanys greatest painter; he is even more significant as an innovator in the field of
woodcuts and engravings, and in the theory of proportions of the human figure.70
Albrecht Diirers body of work is known for its precision, observation of detailing, and
mathematical correctness. He is known for his ability to see and observe. For this
important and notable reason, the sense of sight is paramount when discussing his work.
It was on one of his trips to Italy that he was introduced to both the concepts of
linear perspective and the ideal form. Pamela H. Smith notes that Diirer burned with
desire to discover the methods of perspective construction and the secrets of human
proportions, and he pursued this work for the remainder of his life.71 It is these two
conceptsperspective and formthat I wish to analyze in depth when observing the
only two know insular bath scene in the whole body of his artwork. I believe that it is in
these two secular scenes that we can discover the artists ideology about gender
relationships; it is in these two scenes that we can discover how perspective and form
influence the narrative on a more technical level. And, in so doing, we come to see the
image completely, and hopefully understand that our own perceptions of gender identity
(or the way in which we have been trained to look at each gender) stem from an
interminable history of perceptual abstraction; meaning that the true nature of a
perceived image (both metaphorically and technically speaking) represents its actual
appearance.
70 Strauss, v.
71 Smith, 69.
40


Diirers Ideology about Gender: Man as Intellect and Woman as Body
It is readily apparent that, when put side by side, Diirers bath scenes display
difference. If we analyze each image closerreally see, and look in a different waywe
come to realize that the underlying message is this: man is visually representative as
intellect, and woman is visually represented as body. In this way, though Diirers intent
may have been to represent real-life experience, it is hard to divorce our analysis from
modern presumptions and question whether he was motivated by ideological assumptions
of that time about gender, rather than the scientific vein to which he prescribes to his
other artwork. One thing is clear, however, and that is these two scenes reflect contrasts.


Figure 7 Albrecht Durer, Mens Bath (1498) alongside Womens Bath (1496)
If we explore the image on the left we see a lone passerby on the streets of
Nuremberg candidly looks in upon languorous men who gather round musicians at a
local bathhouse. Equated with Platos silly youth looking in on the Dionysian
41


mysteries, but never initiated into them,72 this lone figure stands as one of many
recognizable bath scene features of this late medieval and Renaissance genres of art. As
a communal meeting place not merely for washing but socializing as well, Albrecht
Diirers notable woodcut Mens Bath {Das Mannerbad) (1498), captures the professed
essence of the secular life in 1498 Northern Europe. While the lone passerby in Mens
Bath, is not the first human form our eye (the viewers eye) travels to, his particular
position symbolizes the essence of this essaythat space and forms in space are
ordered and arranged in such a way by the artist for specific purposes. Why, in a male
bath scene, include a male onlookera figure outside the frame that participates and
interacts only by looking at the scene presented? I propose that this lone passerby is a
mirror image of you and methe viewers of Diirers work. He represents the metaphor
of sightlooking and seeing. Just as the silly youth curiously looks in, we too eagerly
look and consider each form and our relationship with the overall scene.
What other forms present themselves to us in this particular bath scene? First, we
have two musicians who gently play a smooth, diverting rhythm, lulling those in hearing
distance to a state of relaxation; one plays the recorder while the other plays the rebec, a
bowed string instrument popular in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.73 Robert Quist
suggests that having these soft instruments in the image allow one to conclude that the
author intended to draw our attention to its public nature.74 Next, the rather plump man
seated to the far right indulges in famous German libation to sooth nerves and further
bask in the inspiriting atmosphere of the bathhouse. Kate Heard and Lucy Whitaker
72 Panofsky, 50.
73 Quist, 73.
74 Quist, 73.
42


found that this seated man drinking from a tankard is a clear portrait of Diirers [most
trusted] friend Willibald Pirckheimer.75 Additionally, the two seated men in the
foreground who seem so intent in their conversation, were found to be identified as Lukas
and Stephen Paumgartner, friends of Diirer who commissioned, and were portrayed in,
an altarpiece by the artist.76 The man seated facing us is holding a hard brush,77 while
the man who presents his back to the viewer holds a flower in his right hand. Lastly, we
have the single bearded figure, said to be Diirer himself, leaning against the water spigot
on the left side of the imagefully attentive to the happenings of his fellow bathers.
Heard and Whitaker propose that if the observer in the background is included,
the figures stand for the five senses: Diirer (the one standing by the water spigot) as
hearing, Pirckheimer as taste, the figure holding the flower as smell, his companion as
touch and the onlooker in the background as sight.78 This theory that Diirer is
representing the five senses is confirmed by Carl Nordenfalk in his work The Five
Senses in Late Medieval and Renaissance Art. He points out that since the Latin words
for the Five Senses are all of masculine gender, it is originally considered natural
indeed inevitableto have them personified by men.79 He continues by demonstrating
historical examples, It is as men that they are depicted on the Fuller brooch, in the
initials to the Aristotle manuscripts and even on the Confession diagram from Tegemesee
in the roundels for Sight and Taste... [and on] representations of the Senses by symbolic
animals when a human figure appears in charge of them, as in the Tre Fontane and the
75 Heard, 81.
76 Heard, 81.
77 Quist, 74.
78 Heard, 81.
79 Nordenfalk, 1.
43


Longthorpe Tower frescoes.80 It wasnt until the year 1500 that a sudden change of
sex occurred. Nordenfalk explains that because of the abiding cultural views on women
and nature that the senses became associated with all things sensual.81 Additionally,
Nordenfalk shows that presumably it would also have been considered appropriate to
give the Five Senses the same sex as other mental concepts such as the Virtues and the
Vices which in the Latin were of feminine gender and had long been represented
accordingly,82 as we see in Diirers work Vier
nackte Frauen (Vier Hexen) (1497).
Interestingly enough, we can see in Das
Mannerbad that these men are not actually
bathing with water (though there are spigots that
identify this scene as a bath scene), but they are
interacting on a more enlightened level.
Traditionally in art, painting specifically, bath
scenes brought together women and water. This
alliance was specifically for the washing or
purifying of herself. Classical history tells us
that the most important figure of a woman bathing is Diana the Huntress. It is she who
seals the pact between women and water. Why is this? Because the bath is what purifies
her of the blood she sheds when killing animals, and also of her own blood. For although
Figure 8 Vier nackte Frauen (Vier Fiexen) (Four
Witches), Albrecht Durer, Kupferstich,
Numberg 1497
80 Nordenfalk, 7.
81 Nordenfalk, 7.
82 Nordenfalk, 7.
44


she is a goddess, she is also a woman.83 It can be assumed that the artist knew of this
alliance, so he removed any indication of wash rags and buckets as we will see present in
the female bath scene in a moment. DasMannerbad is not a scene where any type of
purification needs to take place. As we saw with the youth outside the bath house, and as
we will see with the perspective lines, the artists intended narrative is far more
enlightening, instructive, and progressive for his intended audience.
Similar to DasMannerbad, in genre, Diirer composed The Women's Bath (1496).
Most argue that, as one of three secular pieces done by Diirer, this pen and ink image is
the predecessor of, but concomitant to, Das Mannerbad. Similar to Das Mannerbad, six
unidentified women are arranged in such a way that influences the viewers perception of
space and place. Confined within the bathhouse, the artist describes different types of
forms from the robust woman who faces off the canvas to the right, to the idyllic beauty
who confronts the viewers gaze head on.
Unlike the image on the left (Mens Bath), the image on the right (Womens Bath)
displays a different scene; one lacking in any idiosyncrasies other than domesticity and
sexuality. Because the focus is on the female body in all its various positions, the nature
of the scene creates an erotic undertone. This inactive, quite, wholly domestic scene
includes visual cues to the female character, identified by elements such as the stove in
the background, the children in the foreground, and the more blatant presence and use of
water.
As Cheryl Glenn says, it is, on the one hand, a scene of silence, chastity, and
enclosure, but on the other, very erotic, and welcomes the male gaze. As Berger says,
83 Women Bathing. Films on Demand. Films Media Group, 2001. Web. 4 Oct. 2013. http://0-
digital.films.com. skyline.ucdnever.edu/PortalPlaylists.aspx?aid=19726&xtid=30686.
45


the subject (the woman) is aware of being seen by a spectator.84 She responds to the
male observer by looking back out at us. She is offering up her femininity as the
surveyed.85 Susan L. Smith in her work on the female gaze says, The act of looking
by women was problematic especially because it was constructed as an assertion of their
sexuality... Women cannot be allowed the unrestricted use of their eyes because their
looking is a sign of the sexual desire to which he claims [her]. Looking is the agency by
which women act on their desires when they invite mens sexual attentions with their
flirtatious glances and desiring gazes.86 In the same thread of thinking, Jacqueline Rose
argues:
.. .there can be no work on the image, no challenge to its power of illusion and address which
does not simultaneously challenge the fact of sexual difference... Hence one of the chief drives of
an art which addresses the presence of the sexual in representation to expose the fixed nature of
sexual identity as a phantasy and, in the same gesture, to trouble, break up, or rapture the visual
field before our eyes.87
So, difference in identity is exposed through the representation of the sexual nature of
women. And, like that of the Mens Bath, sight is still active in this scene. This thought
is further established by the presence of the male voyeur peaking at the women though
the door at the back left end of the room. The door acts as a barrier between sexes. As
we, the viewer, can see, the female is being viewed, not only by us, but by the man in the
background. In this manner, the subject/object relationship is very apparent in this
image. Male is subject, woman is perceived as the sexual object for men to survey.
These established themes of sight, difference, and sexuality play out even more
when we explore how linear perspective and form work in these spaces (places).
84 Berger, 49.
85 Berger, 55.
86 Carroll, Jane Louise., and Alison G. Stewart, eds. Saints, Sinners, and Sisters: Gender and Northern Art
in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2003. Print. 83.
87 Rose, Jacqueline. Sexuality in the Field of Vision. Verso, London, 1986. pp. 226-7.
46


Through the use of a more mathematical approach of arranging objects in a three
dimensional space (place), I intend to explain how perspective and form are used by the
artist to perpetuate the male as intellect and female as body patterns of representation.
47


CHAPTER III
PERSPECTIVE AS A CONTROLLING AGENT IN THE VISUAL
EXPERIENCE: HOW THE VANISHING POINT DICTATES POSITION
Perspective: Creating Space and Place
A goal of an artists is to create spacea space in which action occurs and draws
the eye in to a point. We are always occupying some kind of space. Or, in other words,
we are always occupying a place. Space is synonymous with place. In creating space,
artists inadvertently create a place. More importantly, and what is most pertinent for the
purpose of this paper, it is how the artist creates and utilizes that space to influence the
visual experience of the viewer in that place. In 1543, Leonard Fuchs, a German
physician and botanist enunciated the value of naturalistic imagery, saying, Who in his
right mind would condemn pictures which can communicate information much more
clearly than the words of even the most eloquent men? Those things that are presented to
the eyes and depicted on panels or paper become fixed more firmly in the mind than
those that are described in bare words.88 Fuchs assessment is of value when describing
the scientific climate of the Renaissance and the importance of sight and accurate
observation in art. On this topic, Martin Kemp explains that this was also a period in
which the technologies of scientific and utilitarian devices came to occupy a central place
in European mans striving for intellectual and material progress.89 It was during this
time that artists realized the value of science and mathematics in communicating
information to a broad audience. Especially in prominent artistic centers, like Italy and
88 Smith, 150.
89 Kemp, 167.
48


later Germany, the science of artEuclidian mathematics coupled with naturalism
developed. Author Pamela Smith notes that Renaissance artists realized a new
perception of the natural world.. .and of new ways of communicating that perception,
thereby giving legitimacy to observation and empiricism.90 It is through this method of
practice, through the use of reason and sense experience, that artists found their
appetency. She adds that the patronage and the commodity value of these goods of
nature and art created a climate favorable to the investigation and representation of nature
and helped to raise the status of those who know and could imitate nature. The visual
claim in naturalistic artworks is that imitated nature was a statement about the powers of
both art and nature.91 Primary texts also help to highlight the investigative spirit into
science by artists. For example, Leonard Da Vinci admonished the importance of this in
his work titled A Treatise on Painting, compiled and published around 1540 by one of Da
Vincis pupils Francesco Melzi, suggesting that the second principle the student of art
must learn is to study Nature. He explains, Next, he must study Nature, in order to
confirm and fix in his mind the reason of those precepts which he has learnt.92
Likewise, artists employed reason and sense experience in their work by way of
technical applications of science and math, namely perspective. What is perspective
then? In technical terms it is an artistic technique of depicting volumes and spatial
relationships on a flat surface. Creating the illusion of three-dimensionality on a two-
dimensional surface. Martin Kemp informs us that one way in which perspective was
explored was through mechanical and optical devices. He says, Within the field of pure
90 Smith, 150.
91 Smith, 151.
92 Da Vinci, 1.
49


science, devices such as the telescope and microscope were being exploited to take
understanding of the universe into realms of expanse and minuteness inaccessible to the
scientists of classical antiquity.93 So there was a push to explore beyond what was once
thought to be the unreachable in nature, and perspective helped artists do this. Artists,
like Diirer, utilized perspective machines to help with not only to develop a complete
command over natural representations, but many strove to [replicate] our visual
experience of nature, as Kemp suggests.
When illustrating the logistics of the science of art, Leonardo Da Vinci reveals the
first principle a student must learn before learning from Nature, saying that The young
student should, in the first place, acquire a knowledge of perspective, to enable him to
give to every object its proper dimensions.94 Because Da Vinci elevates perspectives
status as an important tool of visual thinking, placing it first among those principles one
must learn and adopt in his artwork, ultimately legitimizes all other artists use of this
tool. Undoubtedly then, through the use of perspective artists like Albrecht Diirer
verified his authority and legitimacy of things seen, despite the subject matter of which
he chose to depict.
Among the first Northern European artists to treat matters of visual representation
in a scientific way, and with an understanding of Euclidean principles, Albrecht Diirers
publications (whether on theories of art or his art itself) advanced the use of geometrical
constructions in art. Upon learning this technique of perspective, Diirer outlines in his
book Underweysung der Messung, and other publications, an array of methods and
instruments for drawing in perspective, thus furthering his status and credible position as
93 Kemp, 167.
94 Da Vinci, 1.
50


a scientific artist, placing himself among his contemporaries like Leonardo Da Vinci and
Sandro Botticelli. Therefore, the visual narratives that he perpetuates in his body of work
are looked upon by his audience as representations of real experienceas life seen,
controlled, and cultivated as scientific illustrations.
Albrecht Diirer explored the various ways in which to depict a three dimensional
figure onto a two dimensional plane. It is said of Diirers progress toward understanding
perspective that:
Just as Diirer realized that he had to conquer the classical formal ideal of the human body if he
were to reform his art to a new standard of beauty, so too he recognized the central importance of
new concepts of space which were being developed in Italy. These ideas were not arising from a
rediscovery of ancient spatial construction schemes but instead grew from the desire to rationalize
and formalize vision to conform to more abstract classical ideals. As might be imagined, such
investigations had the greatest appeal to a mind of mathematical and geometric aptitudes, and
Diirer threw himself into the study of perspective with no greater enthusiasm than he had into the
construction of human forms.95
Cataloging the techniques of perspective, he published his Underweysung der Messung
[Manual of Measurement] in 1525, and dedicated this particular work to his friend
Williband Pirckheimer, to whom he wrote a letter expressing the importance of this
perceptual system. He says, Nothing is more annoying to men of understanding than a
blunder in a painting, no matter how diligently it may be executed. Because such
painters have derived pleasure from their errors has been the sole reason that they never
learned the art of measurement, without which no one can become a true artist...It is this
skill which is the foundation of all painting.96 97 Dimensionality, depth, and conceptions
of spatial differentiation are artistic techniques that Diirer perfected throughout his
97
career.
95 Mount Holyoke College, 16.
96 Strauss, 2269.
97 Taylor, Jennifer A. Power Over Space: Regendering Perspective, Looking and Being Looked at in Diirer
Prints. N.P., Nov. 2012.
51


Martin Jay recounts Renaissance
ideology about perspective when he tells
us that, Perspective! (from per spicere,
to see clearly, to examine, to ascertain, to
see through) was a synonym for optics
itself.98 It is then easy to assume the
intimate relationship between the use of
perspective, seeing, and naturalism
linear perspective is an artistic tool to
accurately represent what is seen in a Figure 9 Young Hare, Albrecht Durer, 1502, watercolor
scientific manner. Donald Kuspit points out in his work titled Durers Scientific Side,
the ordering nature of perspective. He suggests that Perspectives obvious use is to
solve the problem of perception at a distance. Space is brought under complete control so
that the discrepancy in appearance between near and
distant objects can be rationally explained. More
importantly, Kuspit reveals that Space, shown in and
for itself, allows position to be established in and for
itself.99 It is the positioning of the viewer in relation
to a work of art that determines who, as John Berger
suggests, owns space (or place). And, it is through
linear perspective and determining the position of the
Figure 10 Great Piece of Turf, Albrecht
Durer, 1503 watercolor
! Jay, 53.
Kuspit, 166.
52


Figure 11 A Crab, Albrecht Durer, 1495
vanishing point that position
(physically and metaphorically) is
established.
So, self-proclaimed
naturalistic artists like Albrecht Durer
aimed to depict clearly and examine
with precision. Examples of his
efforts with this technique are seen in
works like Young Hare (1502), Great Piece of Turf (1503), and A Crab (1495). The
space that is created by perspective is brought under absolute control, and therefore our
position as viewer and the visual narrative is brought under complete control as well. As
an artistic mode of representation, perspective clearly aligns with this mindset that
exactitude and accuracy in depicting nature as seen is key to creating a convincing,
organized visual narrative, and subsequently an ordered, organized visual experience.
Durer gives the impression to the viewer in Young Hare and A Crab that we are looking
down upon the animal with an aerial viewpoint. Our position as the viewer is clearwe
are above the animal, much like a scientist would be. Now, is there a metaphorical
message here? I can only speculate that Durer himself was observing from above, and
coupled with his impulse to depict with accuracy that there is no theological message
here. He is clearly showing, in a convincing way, position using perspective, which to
Durer is the most rational way of depicting things seen. But, this same concept he extends
to his human depictions as well, which is problematic at best.
53


Position Determined by Linear Perspective
In its most simple terms, linear perspective is a mathematical system for
representing three-dimensional objects and space on a two-dimensional surface by means
of intersecting lines that are drawn vertically and horizontally and that radiate from one
point (one-point perspective)... on a horizon line as perceived by a viewer imagined in an
arbitrarily fixed position.100 The orthogonal lines converge at the vanishing point
cementing the position of the viewer in the space (place) created. It is as if you (the
viewer) were experiencing the visual through an open window.101 This definition is best
represented by the featured train tracks in Figure 11. The orthogonal lines guide the
viewers eye to the farthest point away from them; to the vanishing point, also referred to
as the center point or point of sight, thus creating an illusion of space and depth as
though we, the viewer, were standing in this fixed place. This center point is the point at
100 Dictionary
101 Alberti, 54.
54


which sight begins; it is the point at which the narrative begins. Confronted with such
illusory images Rudolf Amheim suggests that in looking at an object [in one-point
perspective] we reach out for it. With an invisible finger we move through the space
around us, go out to the distant places where things are found, touch them, catch them,
scan their surfaces, trance their borders, explore their textures.102 This cognitive process
is active. We therefore interact within the illusory space, or in the imaginary place.
The Development of the Vanishing Point: Alignment with the Height of Man
The implementations of perspective in art broke from traditional artistic practices
and revolutionized painting in that it charted a new way of depicting reality. Marita
Sturken and Lisa Cartwright confirm my earlier musings regarding perspective that it was
a result of Renaissance interest in the amalgam of science and art. They put forward the
notion that perspective is a mechanically inspired technique to make paintings appear
more realistic,103 or more natural. The social climate of the early Renaissance, as David
C. Lindberg suggests in his book Theories of Vision from Al-Kindi to Kepler, motivated
scientists and artist alike to analyze visual experience with a new mindset. This climate
change, he poses, transformed the European mentality to that of the practical, urbane,
self-confident man of the Renaissance... [who] turned his back on the book learning of
the Middle Ages and transferred his allegiance to the teachings of experience. Not only
did the artist set forth on an empirical expedition to capture visual reality, but the same
empirical spirit transformed the whole of human activity, including natural science.104
History tells us that while Roger Bacon, John Pecham, and Giotto de Bondone (ca. 1266-
102 Amheim, Visual Thinking, 19.
103 Sturken and Cartwright, 111.
104 Lindberg, 147
55


1337) worked to challenge the relationship between visual space and its representation
on a two-dimensional surface,105 it was Florentine Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446)
who in 1420, is attributed with the invention of linear one-point perspective. Though we
are left without any specific records of Brunelleschis work, his pupil Antonio Manetti
provides us with a vivid description and extent of Brunelleschis work with perspective.
Brunelleschis most famous work is that of the panels showing the Florentine
Baptistery in the Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Signoria.106 It is in these panels that
we see principles of math and aesthetics meet head-on. Lindbergs explanation of
Brunelleschis method is important to note:
During the same period he propounded and realized what painters today call
perspective, since it forms part of that science which, in effect, consists of setting
down properly and rationally the reductions and enlargements of near and distant
objects as perceived by the eye of man.. .Brunelleschis painting of the baptistery,
according to Manetti, was perforated with a small peephole at its centric point.
The viewer was to place his eye behind the peephole and view the painting in a
mirror extended at arms length.107 This may seem like a clumsy procedure, but
by reflection, Brunelleschi forced the viewer of his painting to observe it from a
point corresponding exactly to the viewpoint from which it had been executed.108 109
109
105 Lindberg, 147
106Lindberg, 148
107 See images 1 & 2
108 Lindberg, 148-149
109 Marilyn Stokstad clarifies further that artists [like Brunelleschi] considered the pictures surface a flat
plane that intersected the viewers field of vision at a right angle. [One perspectival system prescribes that]
a one-eyed viewer was to stand at a prescribed distance from a work, dead center. From this fixed vantage
point everything in a picture appeared to recede into the distance at the same rate, following imaginary
lines called orthogonals that met at a single vanishing point on the horizon.
56


The point I want to highlight here
is the relationship of the
vanishing point with the eye of
the viewer/artist. The vanishing
point allows the viewer to
Figure 13 Brunelleschi Perspective Method perceive life as the artist would.
This point of sight is further rationalized by Leonardo Da Vinci in his work A Treatise
on Painting, who shows us that The point of sight must be on a level with the eyes of a
common-sized man, and placed upon the horizon, which is the line formed by a flat
country terminating with the sky. An exception must be made as to mountains, which are
above that line.110 Also, in Book I on Proportion in A Treatise on Painting, Da Vinci
puts for that in drawing from relieve, the draftsman must place himself in such a
manner, as that the eye of the figure to be drawn be level with his own.111 So, as seen in
Figure 9, the vanishing point (or point of sight) aligns with the height of a common sized
man, of which Leon Battista Alberti suggests that that height is three braccio (58
centimeters or 23 inches equals one braccio).112 He says, The centric line has been
placed at the height of a man, then it will be three braccia from the foot of the quantity
to the centric line.113 Outlining this height stipulation, both by da Vinci and Battista,
allows us to analyze the vanishing point as a determining factor of the viewers position,
and thus their relationship with the imagery being viewed.
110 Da Vinci, 38-39.
111 Da Vinci, 6.
112 Alberti, 54.
113 Alberti, 69
57


Albrecht Diirer, too, identifies this point of sight in his sketch Man drawing a
vase, found in his work Vi er Bucher von Menschlicher Proportion. The remarks made
by Diirer about this image are as follows: The point of sight is indicated by a small
eye... Then take a point of sight two or three rods away, or as distant as you desire. This
point mark with an o and attached to a wall. Now it is possible to stay with ones head or
eye at point o and still read the glass plane. He attests here that the artists point of sight
is to remain aligned with
ones head or eye, thus
furthering the doctrine that the
vanishing point aligned with
the viewer/artists eye and
height.
Figure 14 Man drawing a vase, Albrecht Durer, about 1525
Furthermore, in explaining the construction process of perspective orthogonal
lines and the vanishing point, Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472) in his esteemed work On
Painting (1435), in which the sole purpose, as Martin Kemp describes of this work was to
establish the rudiments of optical geometry external to the eye, and their consequences
for the painter, further outlines a mathematical approach to painting and human
sight,114 that artists like Albrecht Diirer used as a prescription of scientific and
naturalistic painting. Jennifer Colgan clarifies Albertis treatise describing how the author
delineates human sight as a visual pyramid (See figure 14). She shows that Everything
within the triangular set of rays leading back to (or emitted from) the eye will form a
picture. This picture is the flat plane, or base, of the pyramid. The artist must keep this
114 Colgan, Jennifer. "Alberti and Masaccio. "Alberti and Masaccio. N.P., Apr. 2009. Web. 26 Dec. 2013.
58


plane in mind when creating a
painting, because this pyramid
will determine the viewers
perception of the painting.115
This pyramid shows the position
of the viewer (E in Figure 14).
Emphasizing this argument
further, in the first section of his work Alberti describes the characteristics of the
vanishing point, or the centric point as he calls this locus. The centric point lies on the
horizon at the head-height of his modular man.116 He says that the position of the
centric ray and distance play a large part in the determination of sight,117 or the viewers
perspective. In particular he notes that the suitable position for this centric point is no
higher from the base line than the height of the man.. .for in this way both the viewers
and the objects in the painting will seem to be on the same plane. Alberti reveals to
novice painters here that the height of human man determines the location of the
vanishing point, as we have seen in the previous images. Analyzing how the vanishing
point works in this fashion is important because not only does this centric point draw our
eye to the narrative beginning, but it also establishes the position of the viewer.
Figure 15 Albertis Visual Pyramid showing point E (the viewer) aligned
with the centric point G.
='. Design of Altaifs Perspective Construction,
according u recent discoveries
ff. height of human being h baseline c. vnnwtiing point
d. orthogonal* e little space /. distance point
Z vertical intersection A. tiansveml*
l
Figure 16 Alberti's visualization of the vanishing point
115 Colgan, Jennifer. "Alberti and Masaccio." Alberti and Masaccio. N.P., Apr. 2009. Web. 26 Dec. 2013.
116 Alberti, 13.
117 Alberti, 44.
59


Perspective System used Not Just by Diirer: Further Proof of Vanishing Point
Determining Viewer
To prove this theory further, in each of the following images the vanishing point
locates the narrative beginning that dictates our perception of the visual text as well as
our position and relationship within the illusory space. James Elkins, in his article
Renaissance Perspectives, submits that perspective is taken to be a thing that governs
pictures, rather than an ornament in some preexisting fictive space.118 If we look at each
piece (each of which has been painted prior to Diirers two bath scenes) we can see how
linear perspective is the guiding force giving order and control to the image.
In Benozzo Gozzolis Saint Augustine Reading Rhetoric in Rome (Figure 13) the
orthogonal lines converge at the center of the frame, directing our attention to the scholar
himself. But the actual vanishing point directs our eyes to the book in which he reads.
We can tell from his body language and direction of his eyes that he poses as a teacher.
Augustine, represented as the supreme orator, is known in history as a Christian
theologian who contributed
much to Western philosophy.
We see him as the central
figure seated upon a type of
dais directing his pupils below.
Those members of his
congregation seated below,
who have come to hear him,
Figure 17 Benozzo Gozzolis Saint Augustine Reading Rhetoric in Rome,.
1464
! Elkins, 209.
60


are in direct view of the book in
which Augustine dictates. All focus is
on the book. Could it be that the
artist wants to emphasize the
importance of rhetoric, and those
historical figures that helped to
perpetuate its authoritative methods in
the hierarchy of learning? Gozzoli
may be highlighting and emphasizing
here that truth can be found in learning rhetoric, but the fallibility of visual experience
can only go so far. We are only allowed a conception of Truth.
Conversely, in tracking the orthogonal lines we identify the locus to be this book
(Figure 14). We have then found the central narrative of the image. So then our position
is established as well. If we follow the orthogonal lines we identify that the congregation
is regulated in an orderly fashion based on these lines. From our position, each
subsequent figure recedes into space, creating a place in which we (the viewer)
participate. Our line of sight is aligned with theirs. Our point of sight is the book
infinity, or what is to be supreme intellectual clarity. In this observation Gozzoli suggests
that the viewers station is lower than Augustines (that we are his pupil), and because
our line of sight coordinates with those of his other pupils, and knowing that the
vanishing point is indicative of the height of the viewer, the viewer is male.
Moving on to Leonardos Last Supper, the orthogonal lines converge upon the
most prominent figure of the image, Christ. As the narrative of the Last Supper goes, this
Figure 18 Orthogonal perspective lines indicating vanishing point
(or point of infinity)
61


final meal, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Apostles in Jerusalem
before his crucifixion on the cross. The orthogonal lines draw our attention to the locus of
the Christian narrative- Christ. Therefore, the narrative begins at this locus; Christ is the
crucial figure here and Leonardo uses perspective (among other elements) to highlight his
cardinal position in a logical and ordered way. The message is clear; the orthogonal lines
appear and align with the vanishing point, located at Christs head denoting him as the
head of his church. But, though Christ is the head of the church he is on an equal plain
with not only his apostles seated beside him, but us (the viewer) as well. Using Kuspits
analysis of
perspective,
Christ is infinite,
the absolute idea
and the way to
supreme
intellectual and
spiritual charity.
He, being at the center, is symbolic of complete truth. It is clear see then that the
ideologies of faith and science coalesce in the image. It is crucial, at this point, to show
how perspective and the vanishing point work in Diirers two bath scenes, and how these
artistic tools influence perceptions of gender.
T
Figure 19 Leonardo Da Vinci, Last Supper, (1494-1498),with orthogonal perspective lines
62


CHAPTER IV
GENDERING POSITION:
PERSPECTIVE & THE VANISHING POINTS FUNCTION IN DETERMINING
POSITION IN DURERS TWO BATH SCENES
Orthogonal Lines Indicative of the Absolute Man
If we examine now the perspective lines we uncover instructive narrative as well
as the subversive gendered message Diirers work reiterates. In Figure 17, the
orthogonal lines direct our gaze to the narrative locusthe heart of man. We can see in
this placement of the vanishing point (the point the viewers vision is subconsciously
drawn to) how Diirer is taking Leon Battista Albertis words literally when he suggested
in On Painting that Man is the scale and measure of all things.119 This Humanist
ideology is reiterated multiple times through the surreptitious emblems of masculinity:
this public scene is active and alive with conversation, music, and drink. Also, we cannot
ignore the subtle indication of masculinity found in the ever so erect water spigot.120
119 Alberti, 7.
120 Briefly, and interestingly enough, the perspective lines only work within the bathhouse. Beyond this
ordered space, any element of Nature becomes unruly. If we try to track the perspective lines outside of the
bath scene, order and rationality is absent. As I will show later when I discuss form, Diirer often created
well-proportioned, rational forms when depicting males, and ill-proportioned forms when depicting
females, because he regularly associated females with the untamed nature. So in this image, we recognize
that rationality beyond the well-proportioned bath scene where the men reside (where linear perspective is
present) correlates with a lack of structure though the unemployment of analytical, balanced perspective.
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I want to analyze
this point of locus a bit
morethe heart of man.
Michael Ann Holly
makes it clear that a
painting in perspective is
not just an exercise in
mimesis but an
expression of a desire to
order the world in a
certain waya definition
in space of the Kantian
relationship between the I
and the not-I.121 Or in
other words, perspective
allows the artist to control
Figure 20 Orthogonal lines show vanishing point at man's heart
perceptionit allows him to control subject and object, the I and the not-I.
Again, let us take into account what da Vinci and Alberti suggest about the height
of the average viewer to be (3 braccio, or 174cm). Richard Steckel, an economics
professor from Ohio State University, attests to this number with research he put forth to
show that the average height of men during the Middle Ages was as its height at about
68.27 inches (173.4centimeters) to the average low of 65.75 (167cm) during the later 17th
121 Goldstein, 17.
64


and 18th centuries.122 And, if we agree that the line of sight is directly related to the
point of sight or the vanishing point, and must be at the center of the frame or window
as Alberti suggest so that it can directly relate to the viewer, then linear perspective in
this image tells us that the viewer is male also. Therefore, the viewer then read this
image as a representation of his superior social status.
Leonard Goldstein suggests in his work The Social and Cultural Roots of Linear
Perspective, two things: one being that perspective construction, like neo-Kantian
philosophy, reveals to us the ways in which the perceiver determines the perception.123
This reiterates my argument that our perception of a given space (place) is analogous to
how the author chooses to use linear perspective and where to place the vanishing point.
Second, Goldstein maintains that We see the way we see because the intellectual
disposition of our culture tells us to do so.124 Historically the use of perspective was
necessary for an artists to create that illusion of depth and space, and therefore draw the
viewer literally in. Art historian Marilyn Stokstad explains that The humanists scientific
study of the natural world and their belief that man is the measure of all things led to the
invention of a mathematical system enabling artists to represent the visible world in a
convincingly illusionistic way.125 Sight, or the way in which we (the viewer) respond
and look at imagery is therefore determined by cultural agents like social gender
hierarchy. With man being the center of all things, its no wonder that Roy Sorensen
suggests that the vanishing point, being the point of infinity, is the model of the self.
122 Steckel.
123 Goldstein, 16
124 Goldstein, 16.
125 Stokstad, 583.
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Correlate that with Donald B. Kuspits exploration of the point of infinity as the home of
the absolute idea.
Kuspit explains that in making pictures more truthful the convergence of the
orthogonals to a single vanishing point dependent on the fixed position of the observers
eye is an artifice of perspective that moves ones understanding from the finite to the
infinite, thus putting more emphasis on the importance of that central locus. He says,
Simultaneously, the abstraction from the eye to the vanishing point is abstraction from
the finite appearances of the picture to infinite space. This infinity is the home of the
absolute idea, Platonically speaking. He continues saying:
In general, in pursuing the picture the minds eye is increasingly engaged, the physical eye
reducing to a means of access to the pictures obvious appearances. The practical eye for
appearances is replaced by a theoretical eye eager for the truth. The pictures structure, as defined
by perspective, becomes increasingly apparent, and perception in general increasingly subtle, more
a general awareness of projected depth than sense-certainty of particular appearances. As
perspective creates intelligibility, and becomes intelligible in itself, the pictures illusionistic
character is de-emphasized. At the vanishing point there is supreme intellectual clarity at the
expense of all appearances and objects, for the mortality of appearances becomes evident from the
standpoint of the infinite, and objects seem to disappear into their place in the total structure. The
picture is comprehended as fully formed, but also pointingfor the Platonistto an invisible
realm beyond itself. In effect, the vanishing point is a reminder that the invisible idea of things is
more significant than their visible and material reality.126
. Similarly, Samuel Y. Edgerton adds that, like Brunelleschi, others historical
figures, such as Leo Battista Alberti, viewed this centric point as a symbol of eternity,
or infinity. Edgerton writes that, Although he understood its relation to infinity, his
(Albertis) only expressed concern was that it be placed by the artist in the center of the
drawing space and operate as the single locus for all converging architectural lines.127
The location of this narrative locusthe point at which all lines converge in one point
perspectiveis crucial because it is the point at which visual experience for the viewer
126 Kuspit, 166
127 Edgerton, 26.
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begins. This is the centric point to which our eyes are drawn, and the point in which
instruction starts. So, Diirer illustrates this doctrine in Das Manner bad. With the point
of sight or vanishing point or point of infinity centered over the mans heart, Diirer
is advancing the cryptic narrative that man is the point of supreme intellectual clarity.
Man is the absolute idea.
Womens Bath
Let us move now to explore the female version of the bath scene. What is
interesting about this images is how linear perspective works in this space verses how it
is implemented in Mens Bath (Das Mannerbad). First, Alberti teaches that a painter will
128 Alberti, 87.
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ceiling suggest that linear perspective is used to create depth. It is apparent too that the
lines of the cinderblocks of the stove in the background also create a feeling of depth. In
doing this a place for the viewer to interact is conceivable. If we outline the linear
perspective orthogonal lines we identify the vanishing point to be right at the standing
womans upper arm. But, unlike Das Mannerbad, this image has no sense of the infinity.
Its easy to see how the wall in the background blocks our (the viewers) view of the
infinite. The artist does this to create the sense of an enclosed space. If we follow the
ceiling lines however, infinity is conceivable but not present in this space. In doing this,
Diirer suggests to the viewer that viewing in this space can only go so farthat infinity is
does not exist in spaces and places such as this. Though Womens Bath may be a
concomitant to the Mens Bath, because that sense of infinity has been limited, the
function of the image has changed. Therefore, sight has a different purpose with regards
to this image where the female is the key figure.
Sight in DasMannerbad works as an agent to perpetuate the absolute idea.
Likewise, Samuel Y. Edgerton suggests, the vanishing point, when aligned at the center
of an image, is an artistic component that compels the viewer to a more intellectual
contemplation of the pictures holy subject.129 Sight in The Womens Bath is controlled
and regulated to an enclosed, private, intimate place, preserve that trans historical
narrative that women are allowed to occupy limited space. Their influence does not
extend to the infinite realm.
Rudolf Amheim believes that the way in which we look and perceive and image
in that first instance, influences our understanding of reality. He asserts that the
129 Edgerton, 35.
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characteristics of perception (like linear perspective), not only help wisdom, they also
restrict it.130 In the instance of The Womens Bath, wisdom has been restricted.
Restricted in the sense that truth about womens authentic experience has been
disciplined in this restrictive space. In the book Rhetoric Retold: Regendering the
Tradition from Antiquity Through the Renaissance, author Cheryl Glenn writes about
rhetorical hierarchy, arguing that for the past twenty-five hundred years in Western
culture, the ideal woman has been disciplined by cultural codes that require a closed
mouth (silence), a closed body (chastity), and an enclosed life (domestic confinement).
Little wonder, then, that women have been closed out of the rhetorical tradition, a
tradition of vocal, virile, publicand therefore privilegedmen. She continues:
Men have acted in the polis, in the public light of rhetorical discourse, determining philosophic
truth, civic good, the literary canon, and the theories and praxes of rhetoric. Meanwhile, women
have been circumscribed within the seldom-examined idios, the private domain; women have been
designated idiots who sustain family, friendships, and their public-discoursing men from within
the oikos, the household. As enclosed bodies, the female sex has been both excluded from and
appropriated by the patriarchal territory of rhetorical practices and displays.131
Diirers work is a literal embodiment of what Glenn proposes, showing the extent to
which women can occupy space (a place) versus that of men.
130 Amheim, 21.
131 Glenn, 1.
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Next, in determining who the intended viewer is, we must again turn to the
location of the vanishing point. As Leonardo da Vinci addresses in his staple work A
Treatise on Painting, point of sight must be on a level with the eyes of a common-sized
man. Instead of a straight-on view, Diirer decided to place the vanishing point, the point
of sight, at a higher vantage point. The viewers perception of this space is influenced by
our position, which has been elevated. To confirm, Samuel Y. Edgerton verifies that the
heads of all viewing subjects align with the common horizon.132 This aerial view is
further demonstrated by the most forward, center female
figure kneeling on the floor. Notice how her head is
tilted at a downward slant, but her eyes look coyly up at
us (the viewer). On a cognitive level, our eye is drawn
to this central figure, when we find the vanishing point it
becomes clear the intended eye movement the author
wanted to viewer to experienceof looking down.
Because of this, it can be deduced that the intended
viewer is male.
To explain this theory further, if we now turn to
Masaccios Trinity (1425), the position of the viewer is
further defined when we identify the vanishing point, as
well as the intended narrative. Painted in the early
Quattrocento, well before Diirers time, this particular
image has been revered as a supreme representation of scientific painting. Through its
Figure 22 Masaccios Trinity, 1425
132 Edgerton, 26.
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naturalistic illusion of space and the deeply human and real representations of the
human figures (showing for example how gravity effects the human body of Christ on the
cross), this image embraces Humanism ideology. It is yet another example of the
crossbreeding of science and faithshowing that man can observe, understand, and
control his world, yet acts as a momento mori, a reminder of mans inevitable end
(death) and operates as a catalyst to prepare for salvation and show the way to salvation
(Christ).133
As shown in Figure 18, the orthogonal lines guides the viewers eye to the
vanishing point that is positioned below the scene of Christ on the cross, thus positioning
the viewer below God the Father, the Dove (Holy Spirit), Christ, Mary (in blue), St. John
(in red), and the donors kneeling outside the sacred
scenes frame. In positioning the vanishing point
below these figures it attests to the hierarchical
ordering of sight. More specifically, perspective is
controlling our response to this image forcing us to
have a specific viewpoint. We are conditioned to
look up. As an example of this idea, the vaulted
ceiling indicates the viewers position as looking
upwardindicative of the level of humility the
spectator must possess in the presence of the Holy
Trinity and subsequently Mary, St. John, and the
Figure 23 Masaccios Trinity (1425)
showing orthogonal lines, vanishing
point, and position of viewer
133 Zucker, Steven, Dr., and Beth Harris, Dr. "Raphael's School of Athens." School of Athens. N.P., n.d.
Web. 18 Dec. 2013.
71


donors as well. So even though this space is controlled by
scientific means, our position in this scene is fixed. We are
outside the scene, but still play a part. And, if that is not
convincing enough, our position is further delineated by
the inscription above the tomb chose to our line of sight:
10 FIT GIA QUEL CHE VOI SETE, E QUEL CHT
SON VOI ANCO SARETE. Or As I am now, so you
shall be. As you are now, so once was I.134 Our
inevitable end is death, but our way to eternal life is Christ.
We (the viewer) must be humble and follow Marys
instruction to look upwards to Christ.
Again, linear perspective and the vanishing point
have the power to control ones physical reaction and interaction to an image, thus
instructing the viewer on how an image is to be looked at. It has the potential to control
and dictate subjectivity and objectivity. On this point Dr. Vernon Hyde Minor explains
about linear perspective that it creates a system of absolutely determined visibility. In
[that] sense, you can find the placement of every object in a painting created in terms of
linear perspective; further, you can locate the position of the observer in relation to the
space of the scene represented. That simply did not occur before the Renaissance.
Because the viewer now senses that the work of art is some kind of extension of his or
her own space, the sense of identification with the scene is heightened. The painting is a
microcosma self-contained realityin which the observer participates.135 In the
Figure 24 Showing man's position
aligned with vanishing point
72


example I provided, my intention was to prove Dr. Minors description of the controlling
nature of linear perspective.
Moreover, Robert L. Solso analyzes cognitive responses to imagery. He has
determined that what we see is, to a large degree, determined by our knowledge of
what we should see, which is based on our previous experiences.136 When put into the
context of Diirers representation of women bathers, and purports them to be a
naturalistic or real representation of Renaissance women, versus the ideal constructed
version, our perception, our initial understanding and knowledge of reality has been
nothing but fashioned in such a way as to illicit a specific interaction and hierarchical
relationship with this image.
In determining the perspective lines of Albrecht Diirers two bath scenes I have
tried to show that the artist is creating a gendered space. He does this through
mathematical means, using linear perspective as a scientific mode of ordering space. In
creating an ordered, rational space the artist is able to control the interaction and physical
position the viewer has with each image on a more subconscious, cognitive level. In one
image, the viewer is on an equal plane with the centric figure; while in another, the
viewer dominates the enclosed space. In one, sight encourages the viewer to look toward
the infinite nature of mans abilities, while in the other, sight is regulated for a more
amorous purpose. Rudolf Arnheim believes that images function as either mere pictures
or as symbols. I would argue that Diirers two bath scenes serve a male audience as
symbols of gender hierarchy. Each visual text represents the accepted cultural spaces and
places that both men and women are allowed to occupy. Merely looking at images is
136 Solso, 74.
73


damaging, and we must look deeper to really see what the intent of the author really is.
To prove this point further, I will next elaborate on how in these two specific images
Diirer uses form as an artistic tool to influence visual perception.
74


CHAPTER V
THE AUTHENTIC IDEAL:
FORM AS A CONTROLLING AGENT IN THE VISUAL EXPERIENCE
Albrecht Diirer once suggested that, Das Auge ist der alleredelste Sinn des
Menschen. Ein jegliches Ding das du siehst, ist dir glaublicher denn das was du horst.
(The sight is the noblest sense of man. A thing you behold is easier of belief than that
you hear.)137 We know from Pamela H. Smith that Diirer burned with a desire to
discover.. .the secret of human proportions, and he pursued this work for the remainder of
his life.. .Diirer remained fascinated with the particular.138 We know too that one of
Diirers goals in producing exquisitely precise, geometric images was to stimulate a
sensory impulseto influence our perception of the illusions he created. Or, in other
words, the artist wanted his viewers to believe that his work was an accurate
representation of things seen in the real world. In Diirers search for the authentic and
real nature of the human form, using science to substantiate his work, he invariably
allowed cultural precepts to infiltrate his artwork.
Pamela Smith shows that Diirers work is a combination of, what the artists
himself called, Kunst and Brauch, or intellectual understanding united with
practical skill. Without the union of these two elements the practice of art could not
grow. She writes, The result of a union of Kunst and Brauch was to be the
production of visible and tangible effects, in other words, works of art. For Diirer, such
137 Maelsaeke, 52.
138 Smith, 69.
75


Figure 25 Vier Bucher, Construction Lines of Woman
works proved the artists Gewalt
or power.139 As stated in the
previous chapter Diirers interest
in perspective construction is
manifest in his work
Underweysung der Messung
(Manual of Measurement). This
work was the embodiment of his
convictions regarding Kunst or intellectual understanding. Here he was able to show
how the techniques of Ptolemy, Euclid, Piero della Francesca, and various German
mathematical tracts, work in art, and is demonstrated proof of his knowledge in
geometry to his fellow artisans.140
His study of human proportions and form is apparent in his work titled Vier
Bucher von menschlicher Proportion (Four Books on Human Proportion), published
posthumously in 1528. In this work, the artist struggled with the principle of beauty.
On this particular principle of beauty Leon Battista Alberti puts forth that, so in the
composition of surfaces grace and beauty must above all be sought. In order to achieve
this there seems to me no surer way than to look at Nature and observe long and carefully
how she, the wonderful maker of things, has composed the surfaces in beautiful
members.141 It has been determined that Diirer felt, like his Italian contemporaries, that
the highest aim of art was to capture the beauty of the human body; for he believed that
139 Smith, 72-73
140 Smith, 72-73.
141 Alberti, 72.
76


above all things we love to see a beautiful human figure, and it had been for this very
reason that he had decided first to work on human proportions and to write about other
things later if God gives me time,142 as the artist says. Vier Bucher was a literal
representation of Brauch or practical skill.
Erwin Panofsky, in his work The Life and Art of Albrecht Durer, explains that
for Durer, some elements of nature can only be mastered through practice. The artist
himself said, Those who are enamored of practice without science are like sailors who
board a ship without rudder and compass, never having any certainty as to whither they
go.143 Additionally, Durers work in Vier Bucher illustrates Leon Battista Albertis
attestation that, the mind, stimulated and warmed up by practice [exercitations], will
apply itself quickly and adroitly to the work, and that hand will follow most speedily
which is well guided by the unerring insight of the mind [ragione dingegno].144 This
doctrine of practice is evident in his studies of
form.
In Vier Bucher, the meticulous nature
of his study of the human body and his search
for the ideal, or the most beautiful
representation of every member, is clear.
Walter L. Strauss, in the introduction of the
1970 edition of Vier Bucher, shows that this
work is a compellation of sketches that serve
142 Panofsky, 273.
143 Panofsky, 273.
144 Panofsky, 273.
v
Figure 26 Left Foot, Constructed, Book 1 of the Vier
Bucher
77


to give a glimpse of the
working methods of the artist
and a sampling of the
diversified interests of
Albrecht Dtirer145 146
Additionally, it is evident as
well, the extent to which he
employed the principles of
Figure 27 The Head constructed by means of the "transfer method" or
"Ubertrag." A triangular grid is used to "reflect" each measurement at geometry to identify the
right angles from its original plane.
natural beauty of the human figure (See figures 24 and 25). To reiterate further,
Alberti, who Panofsky notes Dtirer studied intently, suggests when speaking on
composition ofform that all the members accord well with one another. They are said
to accord well with one another when in size, function, kind, colour and other similar
respects they correspond to grace and beauty. For if in a
picture the head is enormous, the chest puny, the hand very
large, the foot swollen and the body distended, this
composition will certainly be ugly to look at.146 Vier
Bucher is a testament to Dtirers search for beauty in the
balanced form.
Pamela H. Smith claims that in order to gain
Brauch Dtirer endeavored to find the proportional
relationship of the human body, [and in doing so] he
7 $
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*~J ay
Figure 28 Stereometric man
1 b Dtirer, Albrecht.
146 Alberti, 72.
78


studied two or three hundred living individuals. The result was not a work of idealized
mathematical principles but rather a book of mathematical rules. Diirer made use of the
compass and a multitude of proportional relationships among the parts of the body, so
that any artisan wanting to follow his method would have had to pore over his examples,
measuring and dividing furiously.147 He acted as not only as artist, but the instructor.
She continues alleging that, Diirer attempted to mathematize his art, thereby leading it
greater certainty and scholarly legitimacy, and expressing his ideas in terms scholars
could understand so they, too, could grasp the certainty that he, as an artisan, found in
nature.148 The artists work with developing perspective machines to aid in his scholarly
proportion studies is an additional testament to his search for the ideal human form.
For instance, the grid, so often used by Diirer, is a prime example of the
types of perspective machines the artist used to aid in manipulating and ordering form in
space. For example, in Draftsman Drawing a Reclining Woman, etched in 1525 and
included in his Manuel of Measurements, Diirer depicts an artist utilizing a grid to
illustrate how measurement and perspective work. Jack H. Williamson proposes in his
work on the history of the grid that the grids individual squares conveniently framed
specific places... [This constructed] mathematical perspective employed a field based grid
either to
I
simulate or to
document
spatial
relationships
Figure 29 Draftsman Drawing a Reclining Woman, Durer, 1525
147 Smith, 73.
148 Smith, 73.
79


form in space, but as a tool for representing relationships as wellthe many types of
relationships that take place in the visual experience like the physical points of the grid to
the object, the artist to the object being viewed (in this case the woman on the opposite
side of the grid), and the viewer to the object being viewed. We cannot forgo the fact that
the grid, in its simplest terms, is used as a tool of separation, manipulation, and a mode of
controlling space and form with the intent of constructing visual experience.149 150 Similarly,
we find an additional sketch of this grid in Vier Bucher von Menschlicher Proportion,
further highlighting the artists line of sight and his relationship to the grid as well as the
object being viewed (See Figure 27). These two visuals represent not only Diirers
search for the authentic form, but the scientific manner in which he employed his search.
Form Defines Space
So, what is form, then? Form is the mass or volume that defines space. Form
therefore implies that space exists, and yet form cannot exist without space. Thus the
interconnectivity of linear perspective with form. In its basic element form refers to the
organizational arrangement of the visual elements or the formal qualities of the image.
149 Williamson, 19.
150 Taylor, Jennifer A. Power Over Space: Regendering Perspective, Looking and Being Looked at in
Diirer Prints. N.P., Nov. 2012.
80


This includes the graphic composition or images (i.e. shapes, lines, colors, etc.)
Furthermore, form is discernible by the antithetical forces which give it recognizable
features. These include exterior and interior contours, open versus closed, and static
versus dynamic.151 This use of antithetical forces will be evident with Diirers bath
sceneswhich when comparing one to the other act as antithetical forces themselves.
When we discuss content, this is found only when we examine how form interacts
within a given space. To add to this, Rudolf Arnheim quotes painter Ben Shahn who
writes that, Form is the visible shape of content.152 It is in form that the visual narrative
(or visual pattern) is conceivable. Robert L. Solso explains this concept further when he
describes the neurological processes of identifying form in his work titled Cognition and
the Visual Arts, showing that the brain classifies the neural messages from the eyes into
simple patterns: lines, figure/ground, edges, contrasts, and the like. These basic patterns
are then placed in their context and further identified by their orientation.153 So, in other
words, form makes known the content. Solso asserts here that subconsciously the brain
identifies form automatically and classifies input from the eyes into recognizable
patterns. These patterns are identified not only by their antithetical forces, but the
orientation of shapes to one another, which tells the viewer the position and function of
form within a given space. It is up to the artist, then, to order and construct those
patterns, of which will ultimately determine the type of narrative the artist wants the
viewer to perceive.
151 Zelanski, 81.
152 Arnheim, 96.
153 Solos, 51.
81


To explain form and content further, in his work Meaning in the Visual Arts,
Erwin Panofsky determines that man-made objects cannot reach the realm of art until
form or matter in space is determined. For it is form that is the vehicle of
communication as well as a motif of the artists intent. He says, Where the sphere of
practical objects ends, and that of art begins, depends, then, on the intention of the
creators.. .The intentions of those who produce [form] are conditioned by the standards
of their period and environment.154 So when we examine form what one needs to
identify is first, the arrangement of form in space. Second, one needs to understand
content (the visual patterns) or the visual narrative of the image. And lastly, in order to
determine the intentions of the artists who produced the image, one needs to identify the
standards of their specific period, and the environment that influenced the artist to
construct form in its given manner (i.e. historical context). These three steps I will follow
in my analysis of Albrecht Diirers two bath scenes. In doing this, my hope is to show not
only how Diirer creates a gendered narrative, but how through the use ofform he
constructs visual experience by showing that form functions differently, but still as a
controlling agent, in Das Mannerhad and Womens Bath .
The Arrangement of Form in Space
It is evident in his work Vier Bucher that Diirer was keen on examining the shape
and movement of the human form at every angle. These two bath scenes reflect this
mastery. As explained, Diirer creates a space and populates it with the human form, but
in each image form acts differently. In the female bath scene, Womens Bath, because the
154 Panofsky, 12-13.
82


image was done with ink on paper, the nature of the materials in which this image was
produced contribute to the softer, thinner lines that were necessary in creating the
feminine form. In this version the structural lines of the ceiling lead the eye to the fluid
motion of each of the womans arms and subsequent voluptuous body contours. The
nature of this space emphasizes roundness and softness, accentuating the sensuous
curvilinear nature of the female form. Whereas in the male bath scene, Mens Bath, the
nature of the mechanics of woodcutting attests to the bolder, linear shapes and patterns of
form. Instead of the essence of softness and fluidity, the aggressive, tough lines establish
further the masculine nature of the scene. Whereas the arcuated flow of forms in the
female bath scene accentuate the terrestrial attributes of women and their connection with
Nature, the erect presentation of the male bath scene alludes to mans relationship with
the absolute.155 This principle is readily apparent in a number of Diirers pieces.
Figure 31 Durer bath scenes, side by side to evaluate form in space
155The tradition of the bath scene in art alludes to the connection of water to the female form due to a
womans physiological humors and unstable, changeable nature. Visual stimuli have produced these
types of primitive representations for centuries. One author accounts, The alliance of women and water is
very ancient indeed. After all, Venus is said to have sprung from the foam of the sea. Similarly, Diana
83


Diirers examination ofform, through his different studies, culminated in
Womens Bath showing what he considers to be the true ideal female form.
Individualization is removed in the name of objectivity. Diirers purpose was to put the
female form on display. Therefore, form acts differently here. On the other hand, in
Mens Bath, the essence of individuality is apparent. The forms in this scene were not
acting as a representation of Diirers study of the male human form, but his exploration
into the absolute idea of Man. Where subjectivity was the purpose in the male bath scene,
the female bath scene lacks any ultimate [subject]so that no single object has priority
over any other in its claims to be known.156 Where Womens Bath highlights the
collective effort of manipulating and displaying /0/777 in a limited space, the individual
nature of each form in Mens Bath highlights the collective exploration into the
absolute. These individual figures could represent Diirers search for how one could
show a rise above natural images to ultimate ideas, to rise above brute matter to final
form. Though we may not be able to experience the absolute, Diirers individual forms
act as a visual conception of the true idea of Man.
Kuspit continues to show that for Diirer, the inner ideas of which Plato writes
were of immediate interest as a perpetual fountain of forms, always pouring forth
something new of which the artist could take advantage. But the core of Diirers
Platonism is his faith in proportion as the organizing principle of reality, proportion being
for Plato the common ground of intelligibility between objects, a means of establishing
was only a figure that conveyed the essential closeness of women and water. But whether she is washing or
purifying herself, the woman at the bath is nude. It is her essential characteristic, for the painter, for the
sculptor, and for the spectator. It is interesting to note then, that in the female bath scene water is
apparent, whereas in the male bath scene water is absent.
156 Kuspit, 163
84


constancy of form.157 This proportion and symmetry is manifest in the antithetical forces
of the curvilinear and straight lines in not only the bath scenes, but in other pieces Diirer
created as well. For example, in his Draftsman Drawing a Reclining Woman (1525),
Apollo and Diana (1505), and Fall of Man (Adam and Eve) (1504), proportion and
symmetry takes place on many levels, but Kuspit points out that it is because of the
binary symmetry of the human form (the way form is arranged in space) in such images
as these that it conveys stylistic connotations of polish and rhythm and emotional
connotations of elegance and agreeableness, to the viewer. But this binary symmetry
comes at a price if we see these two images through a gendered lens.
In Draftsman Drawing a Reclining Woman, what we are given is a literal
manifestation of binary symmetry and antithetical forces at work. And, in taking note of
the binary symmetry it is easy to see exactly who it is that the artist identifies as the
subject and the object. Sheila Ffolliott explains that this specific image was made for
[Diirers] how-to book on mathematical practices of art, and that the text accompanying
this illustration describes the practice of illustrating form: Then place the object [in this
case the female model] to be drawn a good distance away. Move it or bend it as you
like...so as to please you.158 In an effort to show binary symmetry, the pictured artist
not only distances himself from the object of observation, but controls her positioning-
choosing that which is most pleasing. The male figure has total control of space, and
controls how the woman is to be viewed. Because of this separation of sexes (antithetical
forces), Diirer has called attention to the hierarchy of genders. On the one side we see a
very controlled, modern, rational erect space seen in the vertical man, the plant, the
157 Kuspit, 163.
158 Ffoliott, 56.
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upright pen and view piece, and even in the very controlled lines of the grid. On the
other side of the grid we see the opposite. As Dino Felluga explains, the woman and the
natural world are here intimately aligned: they are both presented to the viewer as
flowing horizontal lines that suggest a natural alignment.159
Concordantly, he then expresses the fact that individualism, creation, and the
power to control what is being seen is at the mercy of the male artistthus furthering this
idea of the absolute nature of man and the objectivity of the woman. Creation here is
taken away from the female or the natural and bestowed to the tool-laden man here
equipped with not one but three phallic devices designed for representation.160 Because
the female figure in this image is being displayed in such a fashion, Diirer highlights the
echelons creating the circumstances of each gender through a display of binary forces.
And, we, the male spectator, align our perceptions with that of the artist.
Moreover, if we apply modem feminist scholarship further, the woman is a
sexualized commodity for the eye, because she is owned in this light by the artist, she
becomes an actual object worthy of scrutiny, analysis, and exploration. John Berger
notes that Diirer believed that the ideal nude ought to be constructed by taking the face
of one body, the breasts of anther, the legs of a third, and shoulders of a fourth, the hand
of a fifth- and so on. The result would glorify Man. But the exercise presumed a
remarkable indifference to who any one person really was.161 Because of this mode of
capturing binary symmetry and form by use of the grid, the female body is scattered into
separate areas such as the neck, eyes, skin, mouth and hair, and other factors like her size
159 Felluga
160 Felluga
161 Berger, 62.
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and bearing.. Hence it [the female body] easily became an early format for caricature in
the [works of artists]162 Arranging the female figure in this way, with the undertones of
using mathematical principles to substantiate Diirers arrangement of forms in space,
creates a prescription for subsequent artists of how to arrange the male and female form
in space.
Similarly, in Apollo and Diana (1505), and Fall
of Man (Adam and Eve) (1504), form further intimates
the bilateral symmetry associated with gender. But
what is done in the name of giving a scene proportion
and rhythm furthers what psychology considers the
confirmation bias, meaning we see what we expect
to see. What is hard in one, is soft in the other. Where
one is meek, the other is bold. Where one is erect, the
other is prostrate. Where one is prone to sin, the other is
hesitant. Where one is connected with the earth, the Figure 32 Apollo and Diana, Albrecht
Durer, 1505, Engraving.
other is associated with ingenuity and action.
Donald Kuspit explains further this binary use ofform for furthering gender bias,
saying, Durer conveys bilateral symmetry, emblematic of proper proportion, most
through, appropriately, a god-like, Apollonian figure, whose flesh was most subject to the
rule of form. It has been said that Durer does less justice to the female than the male
figure, conveying the ideality of the former only as a potentiality. He continues at
length with this explanation, but it is important to note:
162 Simons, 49-50.
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Dlirer almost always finds womens body more natural than [absolute], more earthbound than
divine, because it is a revelation of emotion rather than fomi.. .Moreover, it is no accident that in
such scenes as Apollo and Diana, the female is seated, so that one is less able to abstract the over-
all form from her flesh, while the male is upright, standing so that his body is unobscured in its
determinate form, despite the twist to its torso. When the female body is plainly an instance of
divine form, of well-proportioned poise, as in the standing Eve of the engraving of the Fall of
Man, it is less dynamic than the comparable male form. Dtirers woman is generally passive, either
in die sense that she is acted upon or in the sense that she is no more than her flesh. Only when
male and female are inchned to sin together.. .are diey equals, in radier and in the treatment of
their bodies.163
This evaluation applies to the bath scenes as
well. In essence, these images act more as symbols
than accurate representations of actual experience. It
has been suggested that the goal of the Renaissance
picture is primarily the demonstration of perfect form,
the intelligibility of reality, and the divine source of
order, and only secondarily the imitation of nature, the
lifelikeness of appearances,164 which seems to go
against Diirers inclination toward naturalism. So, it
can be argued that in image creationespecially where gender is relatedDiirer is more
apt to display his mastery with precise, accurate natureas seen in the vegetation beyond
the human figuresbut ignores the authentic human form because he is trying to adhere
to culturally prescribed gender contingencies when arranging form in space.
Figure 33 Fall of Man (Adam and Eve),
Albrecht Durer. 1504. Enaravina
163 Kuspit, 165.
164Kuspit, 166.
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Identifying a Visual Narrative
Narrative suggests a story or account of events or experiences. Likewise, visual
narrative implies creating a persuasive story through imagery. Narrative also signifies
purpose. Where one highlights enlightenment, the other is purely erotic. These two
systems of representation, when displayed side by side, intertwine and ultimately re-
present real experience to the viewerthough, in reality, it is just an illusion of
experience, further damaging the viewers perception of gender. The visual rhetorical
strategies of the artist invite us (the viewer) to understand the visual language of these
two bath scenes as a transparent communication of difference. Again, to use my
argument about antithetical forces, the gendered message is further conveyed through
how form functionscommunicating binary opposites.
In Das Mannerbad, what the viewer is presented with is the illusion of an
everyday scene of mens lives. But even though we look at what seems to be a somewhat
prosaic scene, ingenuity, diversity, and distinction are the subversive messages here.
Erwin Panofsky called this scene a repetition of the full-loving man.165 As I noted
before, each man is engaging and active. Whether it be through drink, music, or
conversation, each man represents a difference facet of the male condition. Additionally,
I believe that Diirer knew of the erotic historical tradition of bath scenes, and therefore
intentionally steered the viewer away from sexuality (by covering up the male genitals) to
allow the focal point to be a more enlightening message. Yes, masculinity is made very
apparentwith the cock and spigotbut it is not the main focus here; and that instance
I Panofsky 50.
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with the cock and spigot has even been explained as Durers way of representing visual
humor (another characteristic reserved for men).
Durers intent with this bath scene was to not stimulate an erotic response (though
that definitely can be argued), but more to invite the viewer in to the scene. This absence
of eroticism becomes empowering. We, the viewer, are invited to look and participate
just like the bystander outside the bath house. In D. Van Maelsaekes work Diirer and
Leonardo: A Comparative Study, he explains the nude in Durers work saying, Durers
nudes are characteristic of a Renaissance outlook on the world, according to which the
physically perfect man represents the measure of all beauty.166 This image acts as an
attempt by Diirer to representing the perfect, absolute man through visual narrative.
Womens Bath, on the other hand, is a direct binary opposite with regards to its
visual narrative. This is true when we look at the function ofform. The function of form
in this image is to put on display that which is to be hidden. Form functions as a titillating
visual experience for the male viewer. Maybe that subversive narrative (to display the
hidden) was Durers intended message. Though, because of the lack of scholarly study of
these two images, one can only speculate.
Linda Hults brings to our attention in her work Durers Lucretia: Speaking the
Silence of Women, to the nature of how women were depicted, saying, Renaissance
depictions of women are so often bound by visual conventions, based on longstanding
gender-based stereotypes perpetuated by a predominately male patronage system and
audience.167 So what are those visual conventions? Cheryl Glenn adequately reminds us
of those traditional conventions of how women are represented, saying, For the past
166 Maelsaeke, 54.
167 Hults, 205.
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twenty-five hundred years in Western culture, the ideal woman has been disciplined by
cultural codes that require a closed mouth (silence), a closed body (chastity), and an
enclosed life (domestic confinement).168 These conventions of silence, chastity, and
domesticity are apparent in Diirers Womens Baththere is no vocal communication, no
immorality, and a clear representation of domesticity seen in the two male baby figures as
well as the pot, stove, and the indoor setting of the bathhouse. Interestingly enough the
only communication that is occurring in this particular image is visual communication.
And with that visual communication stems a subverted message of eroticism.
First, the setting of the indoor bathhouse alludes
the fact that the thing inside is to be kept hidden from
the viewing public. Yet, as Joanne Bernstein shows,
bathing as a subject is purely to display the human
formagain, to allow public what is hidden. When
discussing the human form she further shows that with
both Leonardo and Diirer, the extant drawings of
female anatomy.. .are restricted to the female genitalia
and reproductive organs, whereas the extant anatomical
drawings of the male include a wide range of detailed
studies of the muscular and skeletal systems as well as
the reproductive organs. This description is clearly Flgure 34 Albrecht Durer, Bath
Attendant, 1493, drawing
apparent in Diirers work, where with the emphasis on the rounded lower abdominal
region perhaps as a visual illusion representing pregnancy (domesticity), the alluring
168 Glenn, 1.
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display of the various breasts (reproductive organs), as well as the two male babes who
gaze upon the womens genitalia. One could even go so far as to say that the eyes of the
viewer (us) are surely restricted to looking at the female genitalia and reproductive
organs. Diirers use of form in this image is seen elsewhere in drawings like Bath
Attendant (1493), where again we see the emphasis on the reproductive organs.
Visual communication appears in this triad connection of eyesbetween the front
kneeling figure whose eyes capture those of the viewers, as well as the male figure in the
farthest most corner of the bathhouse, whose eyes gaze upon the bathing women. This
triad of visual communication underlies the fact that not only is looking accepted, but it is
welcomed. Author Joanne Bernstein provides this description of the Womens Bath.
In the bathing women, Dtirer uses the multiple figures to display his mastery of the female body in
various poses, and he develops the image into a casual genre scene in which the nudity of the
women is presented for the pleasure of the viewer. A comprehensive view of the female body is
achieved by showing the figures from the front, the back, standing, and seated; he also displays a
variety of female types by contrasting the young and beautiful with the old and distorted. The
presentation of the subject takes on a special tone by including at the left two young children
(apparently male); one offers a sponge to a woman, while the other gazes up at the nude woman
whose exposed genitals would be hard to ignore. The sub-theme is made explicit by the depiction
of a man (perhaps Dtirer himself), peeking through the opened door in the background. No female
voyeurs are added to Das Mannerbad.169
To elaborate here, the sub-theme she speaks of, though she doesnt elaborate on what she
means there, I believe relates to his idea of visual communication. Looking is
encouraged. Where the kneeling woman shyly looks out at us (the viewer), we look
boldly back at heralong with the male babes and male voyeur in the background. This
narrative of looking (for a specific purpose) further perpetuates the role of women and the
function of the female form. We (the viewer) control this erotically charged space merely
by our looking. And, as Lynda Nead says, The transformation of the female body into
169 Bernstein, 52-54
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the female nude is thus an act of regulation.170 This visual narrative is tellingshowing
how controlled and bound the female form is to the viewing male subject.
Historical Texts that Influence Perceptions of Gender
If we determine the gender ideology at this time period, and identify scholastic
standards in which influenced the outcome of Diirers creations, this may further give us
a glimpse into how form functions in each sceneone with the clear purpose to
enlighten, and the other as entertainment for the viewing subject.
One can get a sense of womens place in society when exploring Renaissance
texts such as Baldesar Castigliones (1478-1529) The Book of the Courtier printed
between the years 1508 and 1528 just before his death; Martin Luthers (1483-1546)
commentary on Genesis; Leonardo da Vincis (1452-1519) M Treatise on Painting first
printed posthumously in 1542; Leon Battista Albertis On Painting) and further scholastic
texts of the mid-Renaissance. Incidentally, the majority of these texts were produced by
Italian authors, yet they are none-the-less impermissible due to the nature of Albrecht
Diirers association and interaction with each author, their text, and Italian culture
throughout his lifetime.
Castigliones seemingly favorable address regarding the perfect lady often
denotes, as modem feminist scholars so aptly bring to our attention, the inferior
sociocultural station with which women find themselves in during the Renaissance. It
has become more apparent to me how sight has a subversive affair with the female
identity. For Castigliones characters in The Book of the Courtier, visible beauty is a
170 Nead, 6.
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virtue, yet is more incising to the eye when said virtue is hidden. In the first book, the
Count suggests this of beauty in women:
How much more attractive than all the others is a pretty woman who is quite clearly wearing no
make-up on her face, which is neither too pallid nor too red, and whose own colouring, is natural
and somewhat pale (but who occasionally blushes openly from embarrassment or for some other
reason), who lets her unadorned hair fall casually and unarranged, and whose gestures are simple
and natural, betraying no effort or anxiety to be beautiful. Such is the uncontrived simplicity
which is most attractive to the eyes and minds of men, who are always afraid of being tricked by
art. In a woman, lovely teeth are always very pleasing, for since they are hidden from view most
of the time, unlike the rest of the face.. .The same is true of the hands which, if they are delicate
and fine, and are uncovered at the right time, when there is need to use and not just to display their
beauty, leave one with a great desire to see more of them, especially after they have been covered
again with gloves... Surely, too, you have sometimes noticed when a woman passing along the
street on her way perhaps to church, happens, in play or for some other reason, to raise just enough
of her skirts to reveal her foot and often a little of her leg as well. Does it not strike you as a truly
graceful sight if she is seen just at that moment, delightfully feminine, showing her velvet ribbons
and pretty stockings? Certainly I find it very agreeable, as Im sure you all do, because everyone
assumes that elegance in a place where it is generally hidden from view must be uncontrived and
natural rather than carefully calculated, and that it cannot be intended to win admiration.171
Is this not a literal prescription of beauty? Now relate this lengthy description with
Diirers Womens Bath. Is the artist highlighting the hidden virtues of women? The ideal
female form is clearly on display here; controlled in such a way as to emphasize the
delicate, pale, uncontrived simplicity, yet subversively sensual and natural essence of
womanhidden, yet exposed and inviting to the eyes of men.
Ian Maclean in his book The Renaissance Notion of Women provides a framework
to the scholastic climate regarding womens position in society. Using various texts from
the Renaissance he drafts a synopsis of the literature describing womens place within
various locations in Western Europe. This work further describes the sociocultural
hierarchy of gender at this time. For example, he demonstrates how the Bible story of
Adam and Eve, plus pagan texts regarding male and female roles were adopted into
Renaissance ideology. Maclean writes, There is no clear answer to the question; Eve
has weaker powers of reason than Adam, so less may be expected of her; but on the other
171 Castiglione, Baldassarre, 87.
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hand, she alone is deceived, and it is she who becomes, in Tertullians phrase, the door of
the devil (janua diaboli)172 Without elaborating on the Biblical sense of female
further, Maclean nonetheless describes in detail that woman was the weaker sex more
susceptible to sin and vice. To bring forth again, modem research confirms that it was
during the 1500s that the five senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste)once related to
masculinity, and thus was visually represented in imagery with the male form
transitioned to being visually represented by the female form in images due to her
vulnerability to sin, sensual nature, lack of reason, and intimate connection with vice.173
Furthermore, Maclean notes Francesco Robortello (1516-1567) who declared that
men are made good through nature, habit, or education, and because of this woman is
placed at a great disadvantage to her male counterpart, since she has a tendency to vice,
less impulsive to virtue because of her weaker powers of reason and judgment, and is
furthermore subjected to the natural state of marriage, in which the wife must bend her
will to the will and authority of her husband, and follow his advice in all decent
things.174 Maybe this is why men consider, as Castiglione does, that womens virtue is
found in their beauty, where the beauty of the female body is said to reflect the beauty of
the soul, making beauty no longer an occasio peccati but rather a step on the ladder to
divine love.175 Though, Theodor Zwinger (1543-83), suggests that womens virtue is
prudentia economica or domestic prudence.
Theologians like Thomas de Vio, Cardinal Cajetan (1469-1534) and Martin
Luther (1483-1546) have a similar outlook on womens position, describing the hierarchy
172 Maclean, Ian. 15.
173 Nordenfalk, Carl. 7.
174 Maclean, 51.
175 Maclean, 17.
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of the sexes from a biblical standpoint. Thomas de Vio described woman to be the
imperfect version of the male evoking biblical references like 1 Peter 3:7, Husbands,
in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect
as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing
will hinder your prayers.176 Similarly, Maclean quotes Martin Luthers commentary on
Genesis 1:26- 27177, saying:
Lest women should seem to be excluded from all glory of future life, Moses mentions both sexes;
it is evident therefore that woman is a different animal to man, not only having different members,
but also being far weaker in intellect [ingenium\. But although Eve was a most noble creation, like
Adam, as regards the image of God, that is, injustice, wisdom and salvation, she was none the less
a woman. For as the sun is more splendid than the moon (although the moon is also a most
splendid body), so also woman, although the most beautiful handiwork of God, does not equal the
dignity and glory of the male.178
So, again, womans position in society, from a philosophic and theological standpoint, is
firmly positioned subjacent to mens.
Either way, their virtues are clearly reflected visually in Diirers Womens Bath.
Through the various positions of the human structure, the beauty of the feminine form is
apparent from every angle, as well as their seemingly delicate nature. Leon Battista
Alberti spoke of maidens in painting, saying, In young maidens movements and
deportment should be pleasing and adorned with a delightful simplicity, more indicative
of gentleness and repose than of agitation.. ,179 Domestic prudence is made apparent
with the presence of the male child gazing upon, what is assumed to be, his mother, as
well as in the interior setting of the bath house (versus the exterior setting for the male
176 The Bible: King James Version.
177 The Bible: King James Version. Glasgow: Collins, 2008. Print. And God said, Let us make man in our
image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air,
and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So
God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
178 Maclean, 10.
179 Alberti, 80.
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bath house). Incidentally, the only agitation to womens delicate nature is ironically seen
in this mother who exposes her sex to her observing male child. I say ironic because
Leonardo describes womens deportment in imagery as, It is not becoming in women
and young people to have their legs too much asunder, because it denotes boldness while
the legs close together show modesty.180 Could it be that Diirer knew this, and thus the
female whose legs are too much asunder, if faced toward the viewer (us), could change
the nature of the visual narrative altogether? Therefore, the central female who gazes out
demurely at the viewer, is modestly posedperhaps suggesting bashfulness
(remembering Castigliones reference to the attractive quality of a blushing woman) or
timidity of exposing what should be hidden. Rather than boldly displaying herself, her
reticent demeanor invites the viewer to look at the hidden.
Final Remarks on Form
When we examine form in Diirers two bath scenes, it is easy to see his
construction of the ideal rather than accurate form in reality. Though, as Panofsky shows,
Diirer did not discriminate against representing the human figure in multiple ways, as we
see with the full-figured woman who faces away from the viewer. But where the male
figures identities can be traced back to actual companions of Diirersuch as Willibald
Pirckheimer (the seated man drinking) and Lukas and Stephan Paumgartner (two front
most figures who were friends of Diirers and of whom it is said commissioned the
work)where scholars have not been able to associate the females identities which
women the artist may have come into contact with during his life abroad or in
Nuremberg. Knowing that, it still can be argued that the function, or purpose, ofform
180 Da Vinci, 36.
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varies from one work to the other. Where one functions as a learning toola
representation of the absolutethe other acts as entertainment for the male viewing
audiencedisplaying for the male viewer what should be kept hidden. As Ive tried to
show too, this Renaissance ideology about gender roles could clearly be the criterion to
which Diirer manipulated form in these two bath scenes. Popular scholarship at that time
is a testament to gendering norms. This further attests to how Diirer not only constructs
visual literacy through form to establish a controlled gendered narrative, but designs
visual experience to favor the male as viewer as well.
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CHAPTER VI
CONCLUSION
DISRUPTING THE VISUAL EXPERIENCE
Pablo Picasso once said that art is a lie that makes us realize the truth. This
statement seems antithetical to Renaissance philosophies of art that Albrecht Diirer and
other artist of this time ascribed tothat Truth and Knowledge of human experience is
found in art, because art mimics things seen. But who is right? In determining the
legitimacy of the visual experience, the only way to answer this question is to disrupt it;
to break down the visual experience and actively perceive the cultural conventions in
which an image was constructed and produced. Active perceiving involves an in depth
analysis of all parts of an imagefrom the production process to the final productto
determine the social and cultural processes at work in creating any image. Picassos
work manifests this theory. In the breaking down of the technical aspects of linear
perspective and form, he enunciates this idea that the visual experience is deceptive and
liable to inquiry.181 In doing this he brings to light the problems cultural identity
conventions can cause. Namely, that cognitive patterns of identity exist and are preserved
in art. This is problematic when we analyze gender identity in Diirers two bath scenes.
Richard Wollheim states simply that the artist [creates] in order to produce a
certain experience in the mind of the spectator. Yet it is in the production process that
truth becomes subservient to, to use the German term, Weltanschauungor a
comprehensive conception of the universe and of humanity's relationship to it. This is the
same essentialist ideology that Barbara Kruger was fighting against through her work.
181 The twentieth century has trended toward investigating the psychology of art.
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But, as Robert Solso notes, Each of us sees the world in profoundly different ways
because of the vast diversity in the way we humans develop individual mental structures
of the world.182 But then how do we justify Wollheims assertion with Solsos? Can it
be that individual mental structures have been continuously doctored in such a way by
artists so that our knowledge of human experience is limited to a specific cognitive
pattern? I assert that our perceptions of things are deeply rooted in how we have been
trained to look at them. So, when artists portray a type continuously, the structure of
that type becomes familiar and engrained into our consciousness. That structured type
becomes a recognizable cognitive pattern uneasily brokeneven today. When looking at
images, such as Diirers two bath scenes, we blindly adopt the pictorial conventions of
identity (which is deeply rooted in Renaissance cultural contingencies of gender roles),
and perceive wrongly because of it. It is often easier to perceive what we know, rather
than what we see. An adverse historical discourse has developed over time about the
status of women, in part based on the prevalence of cognitive patterns found in artwork.
In this study I have tried to prove this theory through exploring not only the
science of art, but how this science plays out in the two secular bath scenes done by
renowned Renaissance artist, Albrecht Diirer Womens Bath (1496)183 and The Mens
Bath (Das Mannerbad) (1498)184. My aim was to examine how gendered power relations
exist in the art of Albrecht Diirer, and show that these relations are implicated in the
nature of artistic visual dimensions, such as perspective and form. I explored how Diirer
treats perspective and form in the hopes of revealing much about Renaissance artists
182 Solso, 3.
183 See Image 1
184 See Image 2
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Full Text

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DISRUPTING THE VISUAL EXPERIENCE: SCENES by JENNIFER A. TAYLOR B.A., University of Colorado Boulder, 2006 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Humanities Humanities and Social Sciences 2014

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ii This thesis for the Master of Humanities degree by Jennifer A. Taylor has been approved for the Humanities and Social Science Program by Margaret Woodhull, Chair Marjorie Levine Clark Jeffrey Schrader Gillian Silverman May 2, 2014

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iii Taylor, Jennifer, A. (M.H ., Humanities and Social Science ) Disrupting the Visual Experience : Regendering Perspective and Form in Albrecht Thesis directed by Professor Margaret Woodhull ABSTRACT In any work of art, the purpose is to create a space in which the viewer engages. In essence, the artist is creating a place. Space and place are interconnected when talking about linear perspective and form. First the artist must create a space and then populate it with forms that interact in that illusory p lace. This paper takes these two terms, linear perspective and form, and explains how they are used to intentionally construct perceptions of gender and call attention to the masculinity of visual experience in Western cultural tradition specifically tho se artistic traditions used by Northern Renaissance artist Albrecht Drer. Certain visual elements, most notably linear order to guide our understanding of the gender ed narratives which he is trying to convey. Das and showing how vision (looking and seeing) work to create a gendered space in which an assuming audiences participates, with the attempt to complicate the subject/object relationship. I argue that Drer intentionally problematizes the viewer/viewed relationship and utilizes perspective, form, and sight to highlight the problems of looking a nd being looked at, thereby establishing a gender discourse of his work. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Margaret Woodhull

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iv DEDICATION I dedicate this work to my father Michael P. Taylor and t o my mother Marilyn A. Taylor, who both encouraged me to never give up.

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v ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to acknowledge and thank Margaret Woodhull for guiding me through this process and giving me the confidence and reassurance that my ideas were worth something.

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vi TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. THE FALLIBILITY OF VISUAL EXPERIENCE ................................ ....................... 10 The Fallibility of the Visual Experience ................................ ................................ ....... 13 Literature Review: Thoughts on the Sense of Sight ................................ ..................... 20 Methodology: Looking and Seeing Explained ................................ ............................. 30 Limitations to this Study ................................ ................................ ............................... 34 II. ................................ ................................ ................................ 37 Albrecht Drer: The Naturalist ................................ ................................ ..................... 37 ...................... 41 III. PERSPECTIVE AS A CONTROLLING AGENT IN THE VISUAL EXPERIENCE: HOW THE VANISHING POINT DICTATES POSITION ................................ ............. 48 Perspective: Creating Space and Place ................................ ................................ ......... 48 Position Determined by Linear Perspective ................................ ................................ .. 54 The Development of the Vanishing Point: Alignment with the Height of Man ........... 55 Perspective System used Not Just by Drer: Further Proof of Vanishing Point Determining Viewer ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 60 IV. GENDERING POSITION: .... 63 ................................ ..................... 63 ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 67

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vii V. THE AUTHENTIC IDEAL: FORM AS A CONTROLLING AGENT IN THE VISUAL EXPERIENCE ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 75 Form Defines Space ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 80 The Arrangement of Form in Space ................................ ................................ .............. 82 Identifying a Visual Narrative ................................ ................................ ...................... 89 Historical Texts that Influence Perceptions of Gender ................................ ................. 93 Final Remarks on Form ................................ ................................ ................................ 97 VI. CONCLUSION: DISRUPTING THE VISUAL EXPERIENCE ............................... 99 REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 105

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viii LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE 1 Barbara Kruger, Montage, 1981 ................................ ................................ .................... 10 2 Femme nue assise (Seated Nude), 1909 1910 ................................ ............................... 15 3 Capitoline Venus 2nd Century AD, Marble, National Gallery of Art Washington ..... 16 4 Praxiteles, Aphrodite of Knidos (c. 330 B.C.) ................................ ................................ 17 5 Sandro Bo Birth of Venus (1482 Expulsion of Adam and Eve (1422 26 Brancacci Chapel, Florence) ................................ ............................... 17 6 Hexagon ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 31 7 Albrecht Durer, (1498) alongside (1496) ........................... 41 8 Vier nackte Frauen (Vier Hexen) (Fo ur Witches), Albrecht Durer, Kupferstich, Nurnberg 1497 ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 44 9 Young Hare Albrecht Durer, 1502, watercolor ................................ ............................. 52 10 Great Piece of Turf Albrecht Durer, 1503 watercolor ................................ ................ 52 11 A Crab Albrecht Durer, 1495 ................................ ................................ ...................... 53 12 Example of Linear Perspective and the vanishing point ................................ .............. 54 13 Brunelleschi Perspective Method ................................ ................................ ................ 57 14 Man drawing a vase Albrecht Durer, about 1525 ................................ ....................... 58 th the centric point G. ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 59 16 Alberti' s visualization of the vanishing point ................................ .............................. 59 1 Saint Augustine Reading Rhetoric in Rome ,, 1464 ...................... 60 18 Orthogonal perspective lines indicating vanishing point (or point of infinity) ........... 61

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ix 19 Leonardo Da Vinci Last Supper (1494 1498),with orthogonal perspective lines ..... 62 20 Orthogonal lines show vanishing point at man's heart ................................ ................ 64 21 Albrecht D rer, Woman's Bath (1496) ................................ ................................ ........ 67 T rinity 1425 ................................ ................................ ............................. 70 1425) showing orthogonal lines, vanishing point, and position of viewer ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 71 24 Showing man's position aligned with vanishing point ................................ ................. 72 25 Vier Bucher, Construction Lines of Woman ................................ ............................... 76 26 Left Foot, Constructed, Book 1 of the Vier Bucher ................................ ..................... 77 27 The Head constructed by means of the "transfer method" or "Ubertrag." A triangular grid is used to "reflect" each measurement at right angles from its original plane. .......... 78 28 Stereometric man ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 78 29 Draftsman Drawing a Reclining Woman, Durer, 1525 ................................ ............... 79 30 Albrecht Durer, Sketch, Vier Bcher von Menschlicher Proportion ........................... 80 31 Durer bath scenes, side by side to evaluate form in space ................................ ........... 83 32 Apollo and Diana Albrecht Durer, 1505, Engraving. ................................ ................. 87 33 Fall of Man (Adam and Eve), Albrecht Durer, 1504, Engrav ing ................................ 88 34 Albrecht Durer, Bath Attendant 1493, drawing ................................ .......................... 91

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10 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION THE FALLIBILITY OF VISUAL EXPERIENCE In 1981, artist Barbara Kruger, in the midst of battling essentialist ideologies, 1 Certain visual in order to guide our understanding of the narrative which she is trying to convey. order to produce a certain experience in the mind 2 In this light we have to start our analysis from the position of the artist for the artist takes on both roles of artist and spectator. 3 gendered dialogue her social perception of women. James Elkins describes perspective(s) 1 Preziosi 350. 2 Wollheim, Richard, and Rob Van Gerwen. Richard Wollheim on the Art of Painting: Art as Representation and Expression Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2001. Print. 3 Bryson, 101 102. Figure 1 Barbara Kruger, Montage, 1981

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11 4 So, what is Kruger trying to say, and how does perspective play a part in this particular image? Erwin Panofsky defines perspective as a type of wi perspective in the strict sense is the capacity so to represent several objects in one area of space that the appearance of a material surface is entirely displaced by the appearance of a transparent plane, beyond which we believe we see an imaginary space, occupied by whole objects in 5 Perspective, in this way, becomes a tool for ordering forms in a particular window of space. Upon further inspection of the Kruger piece, we recognize first that she purposefully orders, or patterns, particular forms in space for a particular reason; her purpose being to produce a flesh and blood, but a black and white stone figure illuminated by an overhead spotlight that accentuates the perfection of the facial features. Here Kruger references the ancient t hrough reflections of the real, tangible, and imperfect human form. While the spotlight allows us to perceive the female bust as a 3 6 for example, where the overarching brow cre ates a shadowed eye. While our gaze looks steadily on, we are not allowed any notion of where does she have eyes at all? One could read this as the shadow denying her the power of sight all together, subsequently empowering our gaze; gaze. Just as shadow 4 Elkins, 15 17. 5 Elkins, 13. 6 Edwards, 182.

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12 aligned along the left side of the montage. These words are strat egically positioned in such a way as to accent the power and the violence that coincides with the act of looking bust. This shadowing, in effect, empowers our eye. The cheek, attesting to not only the violence of the act of looking, but, one could argue, to the violence of objectifying this female all together. The positioning of the words forces the direction our eye travels, giving us, the viewer, power over this space. So, in the act of looking, gaze subjects what is being viewed. fact that women are, and have been, looked at in this habitua l, established fashion, but also she emphasizes the role and relationship of the viewer to the entity being viewed the visual experience, in other words. She stresses the manipulative power of perspective. In this way she problematizes the act of looking and being looked at. She questions the tradition of how we have come to learn to look and see both of which produce different perceptual outcomes. specific, emphasizing the instability and flu 7 With this particular piece, Kruger 8 Put simply, she emphasizes that the subject/object relationship is gendered and favors the male as vie questions the viewer about gender relationships and the female role. As John Berger 7 Preziosi, 350. 8 Preziosi, 350.

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13 states in his book Ways of Seeing men no t because the feminine is different from the masculine spectator is always assumed to be male and the image of the woman is designed to flatter 9 per purposefully constructing the masculine perspective, then calls attention to it with the words. In this way, instead of passively observing the images, Kruger wants the viewer to Berger states (that men are the ideal spectator causing women to be subjected to the male gaze) is true, then I tend to wonder if this tradition of visual experience is a trans historical phenomenon; or in other words, have our cognitive memories been encoded with specific gender patterns that align with gender stereotypes? And if so, how does perspective play into how we look and see form in art specifically the male and female forms. As viewers, have we been conditioned to look in such a manner that favors masculine dominance? Do artists construct subconscious gendered dialogues i n their art through the use of such things like perspective and form? I question the visual experience and want to investigate it here. The Fallibility of the Visual Experience In an effort to focus this study of the visual experience on the perspectiv e and 9 Berger, 64.

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14 in France during World War II, and his qualm with which the soldier had ability to represent reality and truth: The soldier took Picasso to task for not producing realistic pictures and, to illustrate the ideal form which Picasso has fallen so far short, he pulled out a photograph of his fiance back home say This is what a picture should look 10 about human experience and visual experience are decidedly influenced by a dynamic two way interaction between the eye of the viewer and the imagery being viewed. This interaction occurs at a subconscious level, but is initiated by historical and ideological traditions. Youguo Generally, pattern recognition refers to a process of inputting stimulating (pattern) information and matching with the information in long term memory, then recognizing the category 11 The problem with pattern recognition is that brain patterns a knowledge and experience, people cannot understand the meanings of the stimulating information pattern inputted, then neither [is it] possible to recognize the patterns, which 12 So, t form developed from his interaction and relationship with not only his fiance, but also with the onslaught of consistent stimulating information patterns that claimed to represent 10 Zimmer, Robert. "Abstraction in Art with Implications for Perception." Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences 358.1435 (2003): 1285 1291. Print. 11 Pi, 434. 12 Pi, 435.

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15 (mainly the interplay between perspective and form in creating cognitive information patte rns). Our perceptions of things or how we see things are deeply rooted in how we have been trained to look at them; and such as it is with many things, including poin ts out the fallibility of visual experience. Scholars have argued that Pablo Picasso challenged, in his artwork, the traditional artistic Renaissance perspective and charted a new way of depicting reality, thus critiquing, criticizing, and commenting on conventional ways of looking at art and this hig Femme nue assise (Seated Nude) 13 (1909 1910), to evaluate what is the lie, and what truth the artist wants us to realize. 14 13 See Figure 2 Pablo Picasso Femme nue assise ( Seated Nude) (1909 1910). 14 Femme nue assise, or Nude Woman Sitting. Seated Nude Figure 2 Femme nue assise ( Seated Nude), 1909 1910

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16 When we look at the Seated Nude, confusion. On an unconscious level the viewer tries to identify recognizable form but is unable to do so here. This visual montage of strong lines, monochromatic colors, and geometric shapes, enables the artist to create the illusion of space and to mediate visual experience through a distinct geometric approach (distinct to the Cubi st movement). But, as stated, the viewer is faced with at first glance no cohesive, recognizable form. With or without knowing the title, the viewers are challenged by the artist to make assumptions as to what he was trying to do here. Much like the Amer ican soldier, our do not understand the image before us at first glance, we then search for recognizable forms, and in so doing form. It becomes a guessing game, in which the viewer searches for the recognizable tropes one associates with the traditional nude in art history. Unfortunately, our most forthright impressions of any nude in the history of art is associated with the fem ale nude, rather than the male. David is probably the most recognizable nude, but I would argue that more renditions of the female nude have been done throughout the history of art versus that of the male Figure 3 Capitoline Venus 2nd Century AD Marble National Gallery of Art, Washington

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17 Venus Pudica? 15 16 What we are actually looking at however, is merely, as noted, a combination of arranged geometric shapes traditio nal to the Cubist movement. But, what most assume they are looking at (or subconsciously construct out of those unrecognizable shapes, colors and lines) is a female nude with an elongated neck, lightly tilting her head to the right, her left hand gently r esting on her right thigh while her right hand rises to cover her breast ( some even see her tenderly cradling a baby to her breast); Sandro 15 See Figure 3 Capitoline Venus 2nd Century AD Marble National Gallery of Art, Washington 16 In this [pose] an unclothed female (either standing or reclining) keeps one h and covering her private he resultant pose which is not, incidentally, applicable to the male nude is somewhat asymmetrical and often s erves to draw one's eye to the very spot being hidden. The word "pudica" comes to us by way of the Latin "pudendus", which can mean either external genitalia o r shame, or both Art History. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2013.). Figure 4 Praxiteles, Aphrodite of Knidos (c. 330 B.C.) Figure 5 Sandro Botticelli Birth of Venus (1482 1485 ), and Masaccio Expulsion of Adam and Eve (1422 26 Brancacci Chapel, Florence )

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18 Birth of Venus (1482 Expulsion of Adam and Eve (1422 26 Brancacci Chapel, Florence). In a recent in formal poll of approximately 50 people I asked participants to to my experiment nor did I give them the title in English or French, but the majority claimed to be looki ng at a similar image. First, about 70% claimed to see a human form. The rest did not conceive any recognizable form. Roughly two thirds saw the image I described above. They each detailed the female nude differently, but all confirmed that they saw a fem ale. While, the last third of the group said that they either did not see a human form at all or that the human form they recognized was that of a male. Their rationale for this form being male was because of the way the artist constructed the shoulders to be broad and squared, rather than rounded and shallow. Seated Nude, the viewer looks at visual stimuli has been constructed by previous ideological components that inevitably influence their behavior, reaction, and understanding. Or in other words, what the viewer sees when looking is in fact constructed by their pre conditioned expectation s. In essence, lookers will often see what they expect to see. The various ideological frameworks within which they exist influence their visual expectations and interpretations. Picasso recognized that in disfiguring the traditional nude female, viewer s may come to the understanding that the vast majority of images we look at do not represent reality and truth. Similarly, it can be assumed by the viewer that Picasso intentionally painted this seated nude with specific attributes that resembled that

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19 of intentions, what is readily apparent is that Picasso deconstructs that traditiona l female form the one the viewer is accustomed to looking at and reconfigures the perspective human figure. Picasso is introducing to the surveying public a new way of exp eriencing or how we see things are deeply rooted in how we have been trained to look at them; or, concurrently, how cognitive patterns of recognition are built from persistent cultural narr atives. Picasso, in encourages his audience to move beyond the experience the real. He encourages his viewer not to merely l ook at an image, but to really see it. force viewers to confront their expectations by distorting familiar forms either with textual overlay or analytic cubism. In this stu dy I tackle two poorly studied but complex images by Northern Renaissance artist, Albrecht Drer, with an eye to using this method and drawing respectively, (1498) and with the goal of understanding how the visual experience functioned discursively for Drer and his audience. As I question above, I believe that, in certain instances, perspective and form are used to intentionally constru ct perceptions of gender and call attention to the masculinity of visual experiences in Western cultural tradition. Certain visual elements

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20 order to guide our unders tanding of the narratives which Drer is trying to convey. How and Bath (1496) showing how the visual experience favors the male spectator. I reflect on how vision looking and seeing work to create a gendered space in which an assuming audiences participates. Literature Review: Thoughts on the Sense of Sight It can be argued that human expe rience is ruled by the senses. Sight, being the discussing the visual experience, vision, and the dominance of this particular human ability to construct meaning. 17 for the painte 18 during the Renaissance, takes up this conversation on the eye and the importance of sight in his prominent work On Painting, 19 Addition ally, in highlighting the dominance of sight and the function of the eye in determining understanding and experience, Bruno Snell notes Greek epistemology, eidenai ) is the state of having seen, and the Nous is the 17 Lindberg, David C. Theories of Vision from Al Kindi to Kepler Chicago: University of Chicago, 1981. 13. Print. 18 Kemp, 13. 19 Kemp, Martin. Introduction. On Painting By Leon Battista. Alberti. Trans. Cecil Grayson. London [etc.: Penguin, 2004. 11. Prin t.

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21 mind in its ca 20 Similarly, Ashley Montagu proposes that images are physical manifestations that interact with human vision, potentially often called 21 Because of the inter relativity of human sight and imagery, it is important, then, to note the process of image production which involves theorists and artists exploring artistic operations and developments in space and form. art, is not something that can be defined, only felt. Many prominent historical figures, however, have taken up the challenge of defining space in geometrical as well as philosophical terms. It has been to denote a spec ific area or region was not used until the Renaissance. 22 Though ancient writers such as Archimedes, Apollonius, Euclid, and Aristotle wrote on mathematical topics that played a hand in influencing the modern concept of space. Rudolf Arnheim points out th e definition of space in simple describe the shape of any solid and the locations of objects relative to one another in any 23 James Elkins, on the other hand, explains that this term space is too complex to define in simple terms, because of the many ways in which we use it in our meanings is to try to distinguish betw een a space we can understand in everyday life and spaces that require some mathematic, philosophic, or physical concepts in order to make 20 Snell, 198. 21 Jay, 10. 22 Elkins, 22. 23 Arnheim, 218.

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22 24 The space we inhabit in everyday life, however, is a phenomenon that is an idiosyncratic element when descr ibing human experience. Are humans not described, world that cannot be overcome by simple definition, as Arnheim suggests, is the 25 Vernon Hyde Minor annotates Leon Battista Alberti when he describes this idea that the visual world is an extension of our own personal space, thus creating a specific, inseparable connection between spaces. Space then, describe 26 When discussing the artistic process of producing spaces, the illusion of creating that three dimensional space is a relatively recent development in Western history. It was Filippo Brunelleschi who ignited the conversation of bridging the mathematical space with the philosophical space. From then on, artists and the like, forged new meaning and new methods of creating that sense of space in art. The use of perspective i n art made possible the ability for an artist to control the spectator in space. 27 utilized this artistic invention as a way to explore and create space. It was Ren Descartes wh o, in his work Discourse on Method, Optics, Geometry, and Meteorology elaborates on these senses, and since that of sight is the most comprehensive and the noblest of these, there is no doubt that the inventions which serve to augment its power are among 24 Elkins, 27. 25 Arnheim, 219. 26 Elkins, 27. 27 Zelanski, 101.

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23 28 Perspective, as it is argued, is an artistic invention he way in which objects appear to the eye based on their spatial attributes; or their dimensions and 29 While Leon Battista Alberti elaborates on the importance of the construction of perspectival space, phi losophers such as Descartes, and German mathematicians like Johannes Kepler, take this topic a step further and hypothesizes on eye function, vision, light, and the perfection of vision through such means as the implementation of perspective. These theor ists have been monumental in establishing the discourse on vision and eye function, and influenced, for example, more recent work done by Rudolf Arnheim, a perceptual psychologist and art theorist. Taking a more modern view of the senses, Arnheim maintains deep but not common. We have neglected the gift of comprehending things through our senses...Our eyes have been reduced to instruments that which to identify and to measure; hence we suffe r a paucity of ideas that can be expressed in images and an incapacity to 30 Arnheim believes that it is through the senses, especially that of sight, that truth and knowledge about human experience can be found much like Bruno Snell and those theorists before his time. The lengthy discourse on vision and visuality is an extensive topic that has 28 Discourse on Method, Optics, Geometry, and Meteorology Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Pub., 2001. Print. Emphasis added. 29 Edgerton, Samuel. "Perspective." New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. 18 Apr. 2013 . 30 Arnheim, 1.

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24 exploration of the eye: scientific perspe ctive and metaphorical perspective. Having been taken up by such current thinkers as J. D. Bernal, Martin Kemp, and Samuel Y. Edgerton, these authors explore the scientific and mathematical aspects of rationally ordering a scene through the use of perspect ive in relation to technologies of optics and artistic practices how artist order and construct reality through the science of perspective. For example, t he Marxist historian and scientist J. D. Bernal asserts that "the Renaissance enabled a scientific r evolution which let scholars look at the world in a different light. 31 The science of perspective, during the Renaissance, reinforced this world view that knowledge, reason, and scien ce were superior to previous ideologies and sight was the mode at which one received knowledge and reason through ordered reflection and observation. Martin Kemp, author of The Science of Art: Optical themes in western art from Brunelleschi to Seurat, wr ites that perspective (specifically linear perspective) was means for the representation of three dimensional objects on a flat surface in such a way that the projection pres ented essentially the same visual arrangement of the eye as that 32 So, like Bernal, Kemp describes the use and techniques of scientific perspective as a way of forming and positioning objects, logically, onto a flat surfa ce in such a way as to reflect the order and rationality of what Additionally, this view projected onto the arts. When speaking about the artistic use of linear perspective, Edgerton recounts the artistic use of perspective du ring the 31 Bernal, 58 66. 32 Kemp, 165.

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25 Renaissance. In his work titled The Renaissance Rediscovery of Linear Perspective, he representation was based on the assumption that visual space is ordered a prior i by an abstract, uniform system of linear coordinates. The artist need only fix himself in one position for the objective field to relate to this single vantage point. He can then represent the objects in his picture in such a way that the viewer can ap prehend the scene 33 Thus, utilizing perspective in art establishes the inspecting subject, and his object of observation. rough perspective artists can order the world to represent knowledge, experience, and actuality. Though challenges to geometrical optics arose through such arguments that suggested that the optical distortions, it was 34 Therefore, prominent figures mathematicians like Descartes and artists like Albrecht Drer alike consumed this More recently, the conversation about vision and perspective has evolved into a narrative about the psychological or cogitative relationship that viewers have with art as a functi on of awareness and impressions on the subjective mind. James Elkins writes 35 He suggests that perspective, 33 Edgerton, 7. 34 Kemp, 165. 35 Elkins, James. The Poetics of Perspective Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1994. Print.

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26 thoug h deeply rooted in scientific practices noted by both Alberti and Descartes, has for ou 36 As time progressed, challenges to perspectival techniques resulted from changing world views about as Martin Kemp observes how we unscramble sensory impressions, how we understand, [how we make sense of what we see], and 37 Furthermore, Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright, in their book Practices of Looking, part of looking is about the particular relationship of a spectator to a specific image at a specifi c moment in time and place. The world of [linear] perspective indicates the desire for vision to be stable and unchanging and for the meaning of images to be fixed, when the act of looking 38 This metaphorical vein of the self to nature, changed. And, the ensuing theories of vision change as an inevitable consequence as well. James Elkins elaborates on those changes tha t developed in the an import from geography into painting than as a kind of picture making, akin to painting, which involved the viewer and the viewed in an especially 39 From this changing world view, artists were able to explore the changing theories of vision and implement dynamic visual elements that questioned the relationship of the viewer to the object being viewed, whether that object be color, lines, or persons. The 36 Elkins, James. The Poetics of Perspective Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1994. Print. 37 Kemp, 165. 38 Sturken, 114. 39 Elkins, xiii.

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27 fact that the meaning that the ways in which images are arranged and ordered plays an important role in subsequent arguments about the relationship between perspective, perception, looking, and being looked at. Cognition and the Visual Arts, attests to of reality are based on culturally preconceived notions about identity and e xistence. The perception of the world is people, objects, things, ideas, and the like [influences artistic relat 40 Here, Solso echoes this doctrine of metaphoric perspective by suggesting that the way we These two veins which have been identified here the scientific and the metaphoric essentially work together in cre ating the discourse on visual experience. One influences the development of the other, and so the practices of perspective cannot be ignored when trying to understand the processes at which we perceive images. Bryan ual culture of the last four centuries has varied enormously dependent as it is upon changing technologies of perception ([the grid], the camera obscura, photography, cinema, the billboard) the ways of seeing that underlie it 41 It is from this tradition of vision theory, scholarship on how we see, and the relationships between the observer and the observed, that gender and feminist inquiry into artistic practices and past imagery was influenced. It was Svetlana Apl ers who asserts that images display disguised symbolic messages 40 Solso, 187. 41 Wolf, 12.

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28 about social and cultural issues of an era, and hide their meaning beneath realistic surfaces. 42 And, this is done through perspective and form And to attest to this idea, Jonathan Crary discusses the tradition of subjectivity and objectivity both social and cultural issues when he describes the composition of visual perception. He explains, representations. Instead, observation is increasingly exteriorized; the viewing body and its objects begin to constitute a single field on which inside and outside are 43 So, technolo gies of art i.e. perspective and form tend to complement rather than change existing patterns of social behavior. This thought is apparent when we examine both veins of perspective the scientific and metaphoric as well as form under the umbrella of femi nist critique. Next, it is hard to divorce ourselves from feminist thought and critique when examining discourses about form that occupies space, and the ways in which form functions within a given space has a way of influencing human perceptions as well. Much like the Picasso Seated Nude form manifests itself through a collaboration of shape, color, and space. The discourse on form has not only been taken up by older art theorists like Leon Battis ta Alberti, modern critics such as Per Aage Brandt, Charlotte Jirousek, Rudolf Arnheim, Kenneth Clark in his work The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form Pavel Machotka in his work The Nude: Perception and Personality as well as others such as Kathleen Adler and Marcia 42 Alpers, xxiv. 43 Crary, 73.

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29 Pointon, Edward Hill, Jane L. Carroll and Alison G. Stewart, and Lynda Nead. Again, in art, form is executed both in a scientific manner as well as in a metaphorical mi en. which define objects in space. Form and shape imply space; indeed they cannot exist 44 She describes that form manifests itself as either organic or geometric. Geometric forms are those that correspond with the recognizable shapes such as circle, square, rectangles, cones, etc. 45 The organic forms, however, are those that are of irregular contours that happen due to natural forces like fallen snow on rolling hills. So form, like space, when approached in the geometric manner, is controlled in the three dimensional space in which it functions, while form approached in the metaphorical sense, represent nature. Similarly, the painter Ben Shahn, in discus 46 Rudolf Arnheim demonstrates the metaphoric way of always goes beyond the practical function of thi ngs by finding in their shape the visual qualities of roundness or sharpness, strength or frailty, harmony or discord. It thereby 47 In addition to this conversation of form and its relationship to human experience, Douglas Graves points out the importance of, specifically, the female form in the education of young artists. He 44 Jirousek, Charlotte. "For m, Shape and Space." Form, Shape and Space Cornell University, 1995. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. 45 46 Arnheim, 96. 47 Arnheim, 97.

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30 ves, Figure Painting in Oil 1979). But, as Carol Duncan observes, an adverse historical discourse has developed about the status of the female based on this prevalence of the female form in Western art history. Imagery of the female form have become fic titious representations of human experience. So, in a sense they are metaphors, perhaps, of something else. Lynda Nead quotes Duncan share in the common, culturally defined identity, is not quite the same is somehow less equal 48 In this discussion of form another denotative dialogue has developed out of this discourse of form in art, thus leaving us to wonder about whether the motivations of artists and their use of form. Methodology: Looking and Seeing Explained In using the words looking and seeing and perspective and form in my analysis above, I have made some assumptions that I will unpack here before moving on with the mages. Let me provide a better understanding of how I differentiate the terms. To look is a physical act that is implicit in the nature and science of the human eye. But to see means to interpret or make meaning through the assumptions and ideologies of important role when discussing the nature of how one sees and how one constructs meaning from what they see. Looking while seeing is more complex and can 49 Passive reception involves the formal operations of the eye the cognitive processes of retinal 48 Nead, 46. 49 Arnheim, 14.

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31 projection. 50 While active perceiving involves an in depth analysis of all parts of an image from the production process to t he final product to determine the social processes at work in creating any image. Reading this essay, in a sense, is representative of the active perceiving process. For example, if we look as Figure 7, passive reception of this image means that our eyes process the shape and determine (based on the dictates of cognitive pattern recognition) that this is a hexagon. But, active perceiving involves exploring deeper the relationship of the lin es and seeing beyond the prescribed two dimensional shape, and realizing that we are also seeing a three dimensional box. Because initial cognitive pattern recognition determines our initial perception of this image, if we are to actively perceive the thr ee dimensional box we must train our eye to see beyond the prescribed pattern we have to train our eye to see differently. images are created in a complex relationship among producer, viewer, image, and social c 51 The visual dimensions of any image such as line, shape, space, form, and context are In this essay I intend to focus on two artistic clues: perspective and form, two elements that are essential in the process of creating an image. I examine how they operate to influence the visual experience. 50 Arnheim, 14. 51 Sturken, 56. Figure 6 Hexagon

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32 Latin word discussion. He suggests that while our perception is subject to the influence of learning, about perception that this how a v iewer constructs meaning from what he sees. Perspective, on the other hand, is both a scientific and an artistic mode for finding and identifying relationships relationships between subject and object, for example. Perspective influences how one sees or as a way of creating space and allowing the viewer to insert herself/himself into the artwork seen. In the technical framework, the use of perspective helps to answer questions like: what, and where is an object? Additi refers to the effects artistic elements have on the appearance of an overall image. In other words, it functions as a tool for creating context. In this light, perspective also answers the question: what is an object doing? In these two modes of thought, perspective works as tools for influencing visual perception, allowing an artist to bring life and meaning (a narrative) to color and shapes. While perspective works to inform relationships, form influences visual e xperience in that it informs the audiences about human experience about truth. Rudolf finding in their shape the visual qualities of roundness or sharpness, strength or fra ilty, harmony or discord. It thereby reads them symbolically as images of the human

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33 condition. In fact, these purely visual qualities of appearance are the most powerful of 52 Artists and theorists alike have worked together to establish what is meant by blindly adopts the pictorial conventions of his peers; he perceives wr ongly because of defects in his eyes or his nervous system; he applies the correct principles from an 53 This is where my specific argument takes shape. Though regarded a s a scientific artist, chronic pattern of gender identity), rather than an authentic portrayal of social life. As Jonathan Crary argues, representational techniques like perspective and form, 54 thereby creating continuity in perceptions of reality. As artistic techniques of continuity, perspective and form are representational modes of creating imager y that ultimately fashions a specific kind of visual experience; these techniques reinforce those cognitive patterns of recognition with relation to gender hierarchy. When questioning artistic representations of cultural gender hierarchy, this continuity is problematic in that modern perceptions of gender roles stand in a continuum with older cultural ideologies. Artists depict what they know, not what is seen. I aim to examine how gendered power relations exist in the art of Albrecht Drer, and show that these relations are implicated in the nature of artistic visual dimensions, such as perspective and form. In essence, I aim to, first, examine the 52 Arnheim, 97. 53 Arnheim, 97. 54 Crary, 2.

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34 nature of how one sees by examining the art and science of perspective; and second, how one constructs meani ng from what they look at by examining visual elements that influence perceptions of a given composition, like form. In this thesis, I intend to answer the question: how does Albrecht Drer create a gendered space? I look at how Drer treats perspective a beliefs and concerns in general about the social and cultural positions of men and women in the process of creating visual imagery, or, what I call visual narratives. I argue that gendered hierarchy is a function of form and perspectival techniques and is evident i n 55 and (1498) 56 Perspective and form are used by Northern Renaissance artist Albrecht Drer as both a practical, scientific application as well as an artistic mode, in such a way that intentionally constructs perceptions of gender identity creating a gendered space and complicates the subject/object relationship by depicting who owns that space, or who ow ns perspective. 57 In this way, I hope to expose the visual experience as ideologically motivated Limitations to this Study A final word about the limitations of this study. Although my own reading German is quite good, two important texts by Durer, his Underweysung der Messung 55 See Image 1 56 See Image 2 57 Evans, 18.

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35 (Manual of Measurements) and Vier Bcher von menschlicher Proportion (Four Books on Human Proportion) were both written in his native High German during the Renaissance. Unfortunately there are no translations of these text into English, and, thus, my own German has not yet included Old High German -a very different beast than modern colloquial or even a cademic German. I, along with two native German speakers -texts, and through secondary sources I have done my best to present the spirit of these texts, but their does, for now, remain a language barrier I hope to rectify in the future. Another limitation to this study is my choice of perspectival system. I have chosen to explore only linear perspective or one point perspective in my visual analyses. There are other systems of perspective that were developed from linear one point perspective, such as intuitive perspective (developed by Jan Van Eyck), atmospheric, and aerial perspective. These I leave for later exploration in other studies. My study focuses on linear one point perspective. Additionally, I offer this study not as a final statement on the matter, but as a feminist intervention into the science of art. It seems to be that this conversation about the science of art has been dominated by male scholars. While many scholars make very astute observations, none take into consideration the ordering power perspective and form have on gender -even when confronted with the notion that perspective and the ideal form were implemented into imagery purely to create order and control, and to influence perceptions in a particular manner. Finally, my essay is an interdisciplinary study in which I hope to contribute a new lens into the conversation of perspective and form, and how these two technical elements of art can influenc e perceptions of gender. This study is a close reading of two

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36 Renaissance works done by one artist, so some of my theories may not be universal. But, ploring, suggesting and offering solutions to certain problems which 58 I bring in other works to explain my principles and observations, but it is by no means universal. Or, maybe it is and should therefo re be explored in this fashion, through this particular lens, to a greater extent. I have worked to make my conclusions and observation as sound as possible, and hope that any untenable and flawed results and judgments I pose are going to stimulate furthe r conversation about gender and the visual experience. My hope is that we see the image through the gendered lens, not merely passively encounter it. 58 Goldstein, 11.

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37 CHAPTER II Albrecht Drer: The Naturalist It is recorded that Albrecht Drer sought to convey the importance of Nature as a things. Therefore observe it diligently, go by it and do not depart from nature arbitrarily, imagining to find the b [ Kunst 59 His aim as a naturalistic new standard of graphic perfection for more than a century, and served as models for countless other prints, as well as for paintings, sculptures, enamels, tapestries, plaques and f and this not only in Germany, but also in Italy, in France, in the Low Countrie 60 It was due to his specific trade in woodcuts and prints that made him an international star, so to speak. In the the 61 Because of the bustling enterprise in printing, Germany, and more specifically Nuremberg, became a major Born in the 62 on May 21, 1471 to a scant goldsmith also named Albrecht, the young Drer developed his skills as an artist at an 59 Smith, 73. 60 Panofsky, 4. 61 Panofsky, 3. 62 v.

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38 early age (some suggest as early as 12 years old). Erwin Panofsky outlines in his book The Life and Art of Alb recht Drer that the elder Drer came from a small town in Hungary to study his craft with master goldsmith Hieronymus Holper. Upon marrying third eldest, the young Drer was intended for goldsmithing and soon worked as his learning the trade as well as familiarizing himself with the tools and materials needed in this particular craft. It was here that he realized his talents as an artist, and soo n set out to become more adept at his natural gifts. Because of his of the preem inent painter in Nuremberg Michel Wolgemut. 63 do landscapes in gouache and water color, and to paint with oils. Moreover, woodcuts for illustrated apprenticeship, and the most important of these books were printed on the presses of his 64 Under the tutelage of Wolgemut, Koberger, and others like the wealthy merchant Schongauer brothers, Drer was able to surround himself with not only influential social figures, but also thrive in an 65 He was not only instructed in humani stic ideology, but also learned from scholars, mathematicians, scientists, bishops, patricians, and noblemen. He extended his sphere of influence and 63 Panofsky, 4 5. 64 Panofsky, 5. 65 Panofsky, 7.

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39 sought artists and intellectuals of Italy soon after his marriage to Agnes Frey in 1494. Though his marr iage was doomed to fail, his career was not. Panofsky describes how 66 a passionate wi sh that was to become one of the persistent purposes of his life; he felt that 67 and ideolog y is apparent in his own work. From his frequent trips south, the artists developed a particular style of combining the ideal with the natural. This point is important to note with relation to my argument. legacy of some six dozen paintings, more than one hundred engravings, about 250 woodcuts, and more than a thousand drawings, apart from three published books on theoretical subjects and 68 His two major works include, first, Underwe ysung der Messung (Manual of Measurements) (1525) which focuses on linear geometry, and of this was the first text on Euclidian geometry and the Renaissance science of perspective written in vernacular language, specifically German, and therefore 69 And, second, Vier Bcher von Menschlicher Proportion (Four Books on Human Proportion) (1528), focuses on ut 66 Panofsky, 8. 67 Panofsky, 8. 68 69 "CCA." CCA RSS N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2014.

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40 On Painting (1435) and A Treatise on Painting (1540 ) D espite the volume of his work, Drer was, as Walter Strauss suggests, 70 tailing, and mathematical correctness. He is known for his ability to see and observe. For this important and notable reason, the sense of sight is paramount when discussing his work. It was on one of his trips to Italy that he was introduced to both th e concepts of desire to discover the methods of perspective construction and the secrets of human 71 It is these two concepts perspective and form that I wish to analyze in depth when observing the only two know insular bath scene in the whole body of his artwork. I believe that it is in about gender relationships; it is in these two scenes that we can discover how perspective and form influence the narrative on a more technical level. And, in so doing, we come to see the image completely, and hopefully understand that our own perceptions of gender identity (or the way in which we have been trained to look at each gender) stem from an perceived image (both metaphorically and technically speaking) represents appearance. 70 Strauss, v. 71 Smith, 69.

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41 Man as Intellect and Woman as Body difference. If we analyze each image closer really see and look in a different way we come to realize that the underlying message is this: man is visually representati ve as i ntellect, and may have been to represent real life experience, it is hard to divorce our analysis from modern presumptions and question whether he was motivated by ideological assum ptions of that time about gender rather than the scientific vein to which he prescribes to his other artwork. One thing is clear, however, and that is these two scenes reflect contrasts If we explore the image on the left we see a lone passerby on the streets of Nuremberg candidly looks in upon languorous men who gather round musicians at a Figure 7 Albrecht Durer, (1498) alongside (1496)

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42 72 this lone figure stands as one of many recognizable bath scene features of this late medieval and Renaissance genres of art. As a communal meeting place not merely for washing but socializing as well, Albrecht ( Das Mnn erbad ) ( 1498 ), captures the professed essence of the secular life in 1498 Northern Europe. While the lone passerby in Bath is not the first human form our eye travels to, his particular position symbolizes the essence of this ess ay ordered and arranged in such a way by the artist for specific purposes. Why, in a male bath scene, include a male onlooker a figure outside the frame that participates and interacts only by looking at the scene pres ented? I propose that this lone passerby is a mirror image of you and me the metaphor of sight lookin g and seeing. Just as the silly youth curiously looks in, we too eagerly look and consider each form and our relationship with the overall scene. What other forms present themselves to us in this particular bath scene? First, we have two musicians who gently play a smooth, diverting rhythm, lulling those in hearing distance to a state of relaxation; one plays the recorder while the other plays the rebec a bowed string instrument popular in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. 73 Robert Quist author intended to draw our a ttention to its public nature. 74 Next, the rather plump man seated to the far right indulges in famous German libation to sooth nerves and further bask in the inspiriting atmosphere of the bathhouse. Kate Heard and Lucy Whitaker 72 Panofsky, 50. 73 Quist, 73. 74 Quist, 73.

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43 found that this seated man [most trusted] 75 Additionally, the two seated men in the foreground who seem so intent in their conversation, were found to be identified as Lukas and Stephen Paumgartne an altarpiece by the artist. 76 77 while the man who presents his back to the viewer holds a flower in his right hand. Lastly, we have the single bearded figure said to be Drer himself, leaning against the water spigot on the left side of the image fully attentive to the happenings of his fellow bathers. the figures stand for the five senses: Drer (the one standing by the water spigot) as hearing, Pirckheimer as taste, the figure holding the flower as smell, his companion as t 78 This theory that Drer is for th e Five Senses are all of masculine gender, it is originally considered natural indeed inevitable 79 He continues by demonstrating initia ls to the Aristotle manuscripts and even on the Confession diagram from Tegernesee animals when a human figure appears in charge of them, as in the Tre Fontane and the 75 Heard, 81. 76 Heard, 81. 77 Quist, 74. 78 Heard, 81. 79 Nordenfalk, 1.

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44 80 81 Additionally, give the Five Senses the same sex as o ther mental concepts such as the Virtues and the Vices which in the Latin were of feminine gender and had long been represented 82 Vier nackte Frauen (Vier Hexen) (1497). Interestingly enough, we can see in Das Mnnerbad that these men are not actually bat hing with water (though there are spigots that identify this scene as a bath scene), but they are interacting on a more enlightened level. Traditionally in art, painting specifically, bath scenes brought togeth er women and water. This alliance was specifically for the washing or purifying of herself. Classical history tells us seals the pact between women and water. Why is this? Because the bath is what purifies her of the blood she sheds when killing animals, and also of her own blood. For although 80 Nordenfalk, 7. 81 Nordenfalk, 7. 82 Nordenfalk, 7. Figure 8 Vier nackte Frauen (Vier Hexen) (Four Witches) Albrecht Durer, Kupferstich, Nurnberg 1497

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45 83 It can be assumed that the artist knew of this alliance, so he removed any indicatio n of wash rags and buckets as we will see present in the female bath scene in a moment. Das Mnnerbad is not a scene where any type of purification needs to take place. As we saw with the youth outside the bath house, and as we will see with the perspecti enlightening, instructive, and progressive for his intended audience. S imilar to Das Mnnerbad, in genre, Drer composed The Women's Bath (1496). Most argue that, as one of three secular pieces done b y Drer, this pen and ink image is the predecessor of, but concomitant to, Das Mnnerbad Similar to Das Mnnerbad, six unidentified space and place. Confined within the bathhouse the artist describes different types of forms from the robust woman who faces off the canvas to the right, to the id yllic beauty who confronts the viewer head on. Unlike the image on the left ( t he image on the right ( di splays a different scene; one lacking in any idiosyncrasies other than domesticity and sexuality. Because the focus is on the female body in all its various positions, the nature of the scene creates an erotic undertone. This inactive, quite, wholly dome stic scene includes visual cues to the female character, identified by elements such as the stove in the background, the children in the foreground, and the more blatant presence and use of water. As Cheryl Glenn says, it is, on the one hand, a scene o f silence, chastity, and enclosure, but on the other, very erotic, and welcomes the male gaze. As Berger says, 83 Films on Demand. Films Media Group, 2001. Web. 4 Oct. 2013. http://0 digital.films.com.skyline.ucdnever.edu/PortalPlaylists.aspx?aid=19726&xtid=30686

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46 84 She responds to the up her femininity as the 85 by women was problematic especially because it was constructed as an assertion of their sexuality... Women cannot be allowed the unrestricted u se of their eyes because their looking is a sign of the sexual desire to which he claims [her]. Looking is the agency by 86 In the same thread of thinking, Jacqueline Rose argues: does not simultaneously challenge the fact of sexual difference... Hence one of the chief drives of an art which addresses the presence of the sexual in representation to expose the fixed nature of sexual identity as a phantasy and, in the same gesture, to trouble, break up, or rupture the visual 87 So, d ifference in identity is exposed through the representation of the sexual nature of women. And, like that of the sight is still active in this scene. This thought is further established by the presence of the male voyeur peaking at the women though the door at the ba ck left end of the room. The door acts as a barrier between sexes. As we, the viewer, can see, the female is being viewed, not only by us, but by the man in the background. In this manner, the subject/object relationship is very apparent in this image. M ale is subject, woman is perceived as the sexual object for me n to survey. These established themes of sight, difference and sexuality play out even more when we explore how linear perspective and form work in these spaces (places) 84 Berger, 49. 85 Berger, 55. 86 Carroll, Jane Louise., and Alison G. Stewart, eds. Saints, Sinners, and Sisters: Gender and Northern Art in Medieval and Early Modern Europe Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2003. Print. 83. 87 Rose, Jacqueline. Sexuality in the Field of Vision Verso, London, 1986. pp. 226 7.

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47 Through the use of a more mathematical approach of arranging objects in a three dimensional space (place), I intend to explain how perspective and form are used by the patterns of representation

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48 CHAPTER III PERSPECTIVE AS A CONTROLLING AGENT IN THE VISUAL EXPERIENCE: HOW THE VANISHING POINT DICTATES POSITION Perspective: Creating Space and Place A goal of an artists is to create space a space in which action occurs and draws the eye in to a point. We are always occupying some kind of space. Or, in other words, we are always occupying a place Space is synonymous with place. In creating space, artists inadvertently create a place. More importantly, and what is most pertinent for the purpose of this paper, it is how the artist creates and utilizes that space to influence the visual experience of the viewer in that place. In 1543, Leonard Fuchs, a German right mind would condemn pictures which can communicate information much more clearly than the words of even the most eloquent men? Those things that are pr esented to the eyes and depicted on panels or paper become fixed more firmly in the mind than 88 the scientific climate of the Renaissance and the importance of sight and accurate which the technologies of scientific and utilitarian devices came to occupy a central place 89 It was during this time that artists realized the value of science and mathematics in communicating information to a broad audience. Especially in prominent artistic centers, like Italy and 88 Smith, 150. 89 Kemp, 167.

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49 later Germany, the science of art Euclidian mathematics coupled with naturalism 90 It is through thi s method of practice, through the use of reason and sense experience, that artists found their nature and art created a climate favorable to the investigation and representa tion of nature and helped to raise the status of those who know and could imitate nature. The visual claim in naturalistic artworks is that imitated nature was a statement about the powers of 91 Primary texts also help to highlight th e investigative spirit into science by artists. For example, Leonard Da Vinci admonished the importance of this in his work titled A Treatise on Painting, compiled and published around 1540 by one of Da s econd principle the student of art 92 Likewise, artists employed reason and sense experience in their work by way of technical applications of science and math, namely perspective. What is perspective then? In technical terms it is an artistic technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface. Creating the illusion of t hree dimensionality on a two dimensional surface. Martin Kemp informs us that one way in which perspective was 90 Smith, 150. 91 Smith, 151. 92 Da Vinci, 1.

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50 science, devices such as the telescope and microscope wer e being exploited to take understanding of the universe into realms of expanse and minuteness inaccessible to the 93 So there was a push to explore beyond what was once thought to be the unreachable in nature, and perspec tive helped artists do this. Artists, like Drer, utilized perspective machines to help with not only to develop a complete When il lustrating the logistics of the science of art, Leonardo Da Vinci reveals the first student should, in the first place, acquire a knowledge of perspective, to enable him to 94 status as an important tool of visual thinking, placing it first among those principles one s use of this tool. Undoubtedly then, through the use of perspective artists like Albrecht Drer verified his authority and legitimacy of things seen, despite the subject matter of which he chose to depict. Among the first Northern European artists to treat matters of visual representation publications (whether on theories of art or his art itself) advanced the use of geometrical constructions in art. Upon learning this technique of perspective, Drer outlines in his book Underweysung der Messung, and other publications, an array of methods and instruments for drawing in perspective, thus furthering his status and credible position as 93 Kemp, 167. 94 Da Vinci, 1.

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51 a scientific artist, placing hi mself among his contemporaries like Leonardo Da Vinci and Sandro Botticelli. Therefore, the visual narratives that he perpetuates in his body of work are looked upon by his audience as representations of real experience as life seen, controlled, and culti vated as scientific illustrations. Albrecht Drer explored the various ways in which to depict a three dimensional perspective that: Just as Drer realized that he h ad to conquer the classical formal ideal of the human body if he were to reform his art to a new standard of beauty, so too he recognized the central importance of new concepts of space which were being developed in Italy. These ideas were not arising f rom a rediscovery of ancient spatial construction schemes but instead grew from the desire to rationalize and formalize vision to conform to more abstract classical ideals As might be imagined, such investigations had the greatest appeal to a mind of mat hematical and geometric aptitudes, and Drer threw himself into the study of perspective with no greater enthusiasm than he had into the construction of human forms. 95 Cataloging the techniques of perspective, he published his Underweysung der Messung [ Manual of Measurement ] in 1525, and dedicated this particular work to his friend Williband Pirckheimer, to whom he wrote a letter expressing the importance of this blunde r in a painting, no matter how diligently it may be executed. Because such painters have derived pleasure from their errors has been the sole reason that they never learned the art of measurement, without which no one can become a true artist...It is this 96 Dimensionality, depth, and conceptions of spatial differentiation are artistic techniques that Drer perfected throughout his career. 97 95 Mount Holyoke College, 16. 96 Strauss, 2269. 97 Taylor, Jennifer A. Power Over Space: Regendering Perspective, Looking and Being Looked at in Drer Prints N.P., Nov. 2012.

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52 Martin Jay recounts Renaissance ideology about perspective when he tells Perspectiva (from perspicere to see clearly, to examine, to ascertain, to see through) was a synonym for optics 98 It is then easy to assume the in timate relationship between the use of perspective, seeing, and naturalism linear perspective is an artistic tool to accurately represent what is seen in a Scientific Side the order ing nature of perspective. solve the problem of perception at a distance. Space is brought under complete control so that the discrepancy in appearance between near and for itself, allows position to be established in and for 99 It is the positioning of t he viewer in relation to a work of art that determines who, as John Berger suggests, owns space (or place). And, it is through linear perspective and determining the position of the 98 Jay, 53. 99 Kuspit, 166. Figure 9 Young Hare Albrecht Durer, 1502, watercolor Figure 10 Great Piece of Turf Albrecht Durer, 1503 watercolor

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53 vanishing point that position (physically and metaphorically) is established. So, self proclaimed naturalistic artists like Albrecht Drer aimed to depict clearly and examine with precision. Examples of his efforts with this technique are seen in works lik e Young Hare (1502), Great Piece of Turf (1503), and A Crab (1495). The space that is created by perspective is brought under absolute control, and therefore our position as viewer and the visual narrative is brought under complete control as well. As an artistic mode of representation, perspective clearly aligns with this mindset that exactitude and accuracy in depicting nature as seen is key to creating a convincing, organized visual narrative, and subsequently an ordered, organized visual experience. Drer gives the impression to the viewer in Young Hare and A Crab that we are looking down upon the animal with an aerial viewpoint. Our position as the viewer is clear we are above the animal, much like a scientist would be. Now, is there a metaphorical message here? I can only speculate that Drer himself was observing from above, and coupled with his impulse to depict with accuracy that there is no theological message here. He is clearly showing, in a convincing way, position using perspective, which t o Drer is the most rational way of depicting things seen. But, this same concept he extends to his human depictions as well, which is problematic at best. Figure 11 A Crab Albrecht Durer, 1495

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54 Position Determined by Linear Perspective representing three dimensional objects and space on a two dimensional surface by means of intersecting lines that are drawn vertically and horizontally and that radiate from one point (one 100 The orthogonal lines converge at the vanishing point cementing the position of the viewer in the space (place) created. It is as if you (the viewer) were experiencing the visual through an open window. 101 This definition is best represented by the featured train tracks in Figure 11 The orthogonal lines guide the from them; to the vanishing point, also referred to though we, the viewer, were standing in this fixed place. This center point is the point at 100 Dictionary 101 Alberti, 54. Figure 12 Example of Linear P erspective and the vanishing point

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55 which sight begins; it is the point at which the narrative begins. Confronted with such point perspective] we reach out for it. With an invisible finger we move through the space around us, go out to the distant places where things are found, touch them, catch them, 102 This cognitive process is active. We therefore interact within the illusory space, or in the imaginary place. The De velopment of the Vanishing Point : Alignment with the Height of Man The implementations of perspective in art broke from traditional artistic practices and revolutionized painting in that it charted a new way of depicting reality. Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright confirm my earlier musings regarding perspective that it was a result of Renaissance interest in the amalgam of science and art. They put forward the more re 103 or more natural. The social climate of the early Renaissance, as David C. Lindberg suggests in his book Theories of Vision from Al Kindi to Kepler motivated imate self the Middle Ages and transferred his allegiance to the teachings of experienc e. Not only 104 History tells us that while Roger Bacon, John Pecham, and Giot to de Bondone (ca. 1266 102 Arnheim, Visual Thinking 19. 103 Sturken and Cartwright, 111. 104 Lindberg, 147

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56 on a two 105 it was Florentine Filippo Brunelleschi (1377 1446) who in 1420, is attributed with the invention of linear one p oint perspective. Though we anels showing the Florentine Baptistery in the Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Signoria. 106 It is in these panels that we see principles of math and aesthetics meet head During the same period he propounded and realized what painters today call perspective, since it forms part of that science which, in effect, consists of setting down properly and rationally the reductions and enlargements of near and distant objects as perceived by according to Manetti, was perforated with a small peephole at its centric point. The viewer was to place his eye behind the peephole and view the painting in a 107 Th is may seem like a clumsy procedure, but by reflection, Brunelleschi forced the viewer of his painting to observe it from a point corresponding exactly to the viewpoint from which it had been executed. 108 109 105 Lindberg, 147 106 Lindberg, 148 107 See images 1 & 2 108 Lindberg, 148 149 109 lat a one eyed viewer was to stand at a prescribed distance from a work, dead center. From this fixed vantage point everything in a picture app eared to recede into the distance at the same rate, following imaginary

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57 The point I want to highlight here is the relationship of the vanishing point with the eye of the viewer/artist. The vanishing point allows the viewer to perceive life as the artist would. er rationalized by Leonardo Da Vinci in his work A Treatise on Painting, who shows us common sized man, and placed upon the horizon, which is the line formed by a flat country terminating with the sky. An exception must be made as to mountains, which are 110 A Treatise on Painting, Da Vinci manner, as that the eye 111 So, as seen in Figure 9, the vanishing point (or point of sight) aligns with the height of a common sized man, of which Leon Battista Alberti suggests that that height is three braccio (58 centimeters or 23 inches equals one braccio). 112 113 Outlining this height stipulation, both by da Vinci and Battista, allo and thus their relationship with the imagery being viewed. 110 Da Vinci, 38 39. 111 Da Vinci, 6. 112 Alberti, 54. 113 Alberti, 69 Figure 13 Brunelleschi Perspective Method

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58 Albrecht Drer, too, id Vier Bcher von Menschlicher Proportion. The remarks made ht two or three rods away, or as distant as you desire. This point mark with an o eye at point o is to remain aligned with furthering the doctrine that the vanishing point aligned with height. Furthermore, in explaining the construction process of perspective orthogonal lines and the vanishing point, L eon Battista Alberti (1404 1472) in his esteemed work On Painting (1435), in which the sole purpose, as Martin Kemp describes of this work was to 114 that artists like Albrecht Drer used as a prescription of scientific and delineates human s ight as a visual pyramid ( See figure 14 ). within the triangular set of rays leading back to (or emitted from) the eye will form a 114 Colgan Jennifer. "Alberti and Masaccio." Alberti and Masaccio N.P., Apr. 2009. Web. 26 Dec. 2013. Figure 14 Man drawing a vase Albrecht Durer, about 1525

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59 plane in mind when creating a painting, because this pyramid 115 This pyramid shows the position of the viewer (E in Figure 14 ). Emphasizing this argument further, in the first section of his work Alberti describes the characteristics of the n the horizon at the head 116 117 ntric point is no novice painters here that the height of human man determines the location of the vanishing point, as we have seen in the previous images. Analyzing how the vanishing point works in this fashion is important because not only does this centric point draw our eye to the narrative beginning, but it also establishes the position of the viewer. 115 Colgan, Jennifer. "Alberti and Masaccio." Alberti and Masaccio N.P., Apr. 2009. Web. 26 Dec. 2013. 116 Alberti, 13. 117 Alberti, 44. Figure 15 with the centric point G. Figure 16 Alberti's visualization o f the vanishing point

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60 Perspective System used Not Just by Drer: Further Proof of Vanishing Point Determining Viewer To prove this theory further, in each of the follo wing images the vanishing point locates the narrative beginning that dictates our perception of the visual text as well as our position and relationship within the illusory space. James Elkins, in his article Renaissance Perspectives submits that 118 If we look at each linear perspective is the guid ing force giving order and control to the image. Saint Augustine Reading Rhetoric in Rome (Figure 13) the orthogonal lines conve rge at the center of the frame, directing our attention to the scholar himself. But the actual vanishing point directs our eyes to the book in which he reads. We can tell from his body language and direction of his eyes that he poses as a teacher. August ine, represented as the supreme orator, is known in history as a Christian theologian who contributed much to Western philosophy. We see him as the central figure seated upon a type of dais directing his pupils below. Those members of his congregation seat ed below, who have come to hear him, 118 Elkins, 209. Figure 17 Saint Augustine Reading Rhetoric in Rome ,, 1464

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61 are in direct view of the book in which Augustine dictates. All focus is on the book. Could it be that the artist wants to emphasize the importance of rhetoric, and those historical figures that helped to perpetuate its authoritative methods in the hierarchy of learning? Gozzoli may be highlighting and emphasizing here that truth can be fo und in learning rhetoric, but the fallibility of visual experience can only go so far. We are only allowed a conception of Truth. Conversely, in tracking the orthogonal lines we identify the locus to be this book ( Figure 14) We have then found the cent ral narrative of the image. So then our position is established as well. If we follow the orthogonal lines we identify that the congregation is regulated in an orderly fashion based on these lines. From our position, each subsequent figure recedes into s pace, creating a place in which we (the viewer) participate. Our line of sight is aligned with theirs. Our point of sight is the book infinity, or what is to be supreme intellectual clarity. In this observation Gozzoli suggests vanishing point is indicative of the height of the viewer, the viewer is male. Moving on to Leonar Last Supper, the orthogonal lines converge upon the most prominent figure of the image, Christ. As the narrative of the Last Supper goes, this Figure 18 Orthogonal perspective lines indicating vanishing point (or point of infinity)

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62 final meal, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixi on on the cross. The orthogonal lines draw our attention to the locus of the Christian narrative Christ. Therefore, the narrative begins at this locus; Christ is the crucial figure here and Leonardo uses perspective (among other elements) to highlight hi s cardinal position in a logical and ordered way. The message is clear; the orthogonal lines head of his church. But, though Christ is the head of the church he is on a n equal plain analysis of perspective, Christ is infinite, the absolute idea and the way to supreme intellectual and spiritual charity. He, being at the center, is symbolic of complete truth. It is clear see then that the ideologies of faith and science coalesce in the image. It is crucial, at this p oint, to show artistic tools influence perceptions of gender. Figure 19 Leonardo Da Vinci Last Sup per (1494 1498),with orthogonal perspective lines

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63 CHAPTER IV GENDERING POSITION : POSITION I f we examine now t he perspective lines we uncover instructive narrative as well Figure 17 the orthogonal lines direct our gaze to the narrative locus the heart of man. We can see in in On Pa inting 119 This Humanist ideology is reiterated multiple times through the surreptitious emblems of masculinity: this public scene is active and alive with conversation, music, and drink. Also, we cannot igno re the subtle indication of masculinity found in the ever so erect water spigot. 120 119 Alberti, 7. 120 B riefly, and interestingly enough, the perspective lines only work within the bathhouse. Beyond this ordered space, any element of Nature becomes unruly. If we try to track the perspective lines outside of the bath scene, order and rationality is absent. As I will show later when I discuss form, Drer often created well proportioned, rational forms when depicting males, and ill proportioned forms when depicting females, because he regularly associated females with the untamed nature. So in this image, w e recognize that rationality beyond the well proportioned bath scene where the men reside (where linear perspective is present) correlates with a lack of structure though the unemployment of analytical, balanced perspective.

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64 I want to analyze this point of locus a bit more the heart of man. Michael Ann Holly painting in perspective is not just an exercise in mimesis but an expression of a desire to order the world in a certain way a definition in space of the Kantian relationship between the I and the not 121 Or in other words, perspective allows the artist to control perception it allows him to control subject and object, the I and the not I. Again, let us take into account what da Vinci and Alberti suggest about the height of the average viewer to be (3 braccio, or 174cm). Richard Steckel, an economics professor from Ohio State University, attests to this number with research he put forth to show that the average height of men during the Middle Age s was as its height at about 68.27 inches (173.4centimeters) to the average low of 65.75 (167cm) during the later 17 th 121 Goldstein, 17. Figure 20 Orthogonal lines show vanishing point at man's heart

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65 and 18 th centuries. 122 And, if we agree that the line of sight is directly related to the st be at the center of the frame or window as Alberti suggest so that it can directly relate to the viewer, then linear perspective in this image tells us that the viewer is male also. Therefore, the viewer then read this image as a representation of his superior social status. Leonard Goldstein suggests in his work The Social and Cultural Roots of Linear Perspective Kantian philosophy, reveals to us the ways in which the perceiver determ 123 This reiterates my argument that our perception of a given space (place) is analogous to how the author chooses to use linear perspective and where to place the vanishing point. 124 Historically the use of perspective was necessary for an artists to create that illusion of depth and space, and therefore draw the viewer literally in. Art historian Marilyn Sto invention of a mathematical system enabling artists to represent the visible world in a convincingly illusionistic 125 Sight, or the way in which we (the viewer) respond and look at imagery is therefore determined by cultural agents like social gender suggests that the vanishing 122 Steckel. 123 Goldstein, 16 124 Goldstein, 16. 125 Stokstad, 583.

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66 the absolute idea. Kuspit inf inite, thus putting more emphasis on the importance of that central locus. He says, the finite appearances of the picture to infinite space. This infinity is the home of the app by perspective, becomes increasingly apparent, and perception in general increasingly subtle, more a general awareness of projected depth than sense certain ty of particular appearances. As character is de emphasized. At the vanishing point there is supreme intellectual clarity at the expense of all appearanc es and objects, for the mortality of appearances becomes evident from the standpoint of the infinite, and objects seem to disappear into their place in the total structure. The picture is comprehended as fully formed, but also pointing for the Platonist to an invisible realm beyond itself. In effect, the vanishing point is a reminder that the invisible idea of things is more significant than their visible and material reality. 126 Similarly, Samuel Y. Edgerton adds that, like Brunelleschi, others hi storical figures, such as Leo Battista Alberti rtist in the center of the 127 The location of this narrative locus the point at which all lines converge in one point perspective is crucial because it is the point at wh ich visual experience for the viewer 126 Kuspit, 166 127 Edgerton, 26.

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67 begins This is the centric point to which our eyes are drawn, and the point in which instruction starts. So, Drer illustrates this doctrine in Das Mnnerbad is advancing the cryptic narrative that man is the point of supreme intellectual clarity. Man is the absolute idea. Let us move now to explore the f emale version of the bath scene. What is interesting about this images is how linear perspective works in this space verses how it is implemented in Das Mnnerbad ). First, Alberti teaches that a painter will achieve a praiseworthy painting holds and charms the eye and minds of the 128 Drer has created a totally different space and place with this exact intent. It is apparent that he attempts to place. The lines of the 128 Alberti, 87. Figure 21 Albrecht D rer, Woman's Bath (1496)

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68 ceiling suggest that linear perspective is used to create depth. It is apparent too that the lines of the cinderblocks of the stove in the background also create a feeling of depth. In doing this a place for the viewer to interact is c onceivable. If we outline the linear perspective orthogonal lines we identify the vanishing point to be right at the standing Das Mnnerbad this image has no sense of the infinity. infinite. The artist does this to create the sense of an enclosed space. If we follow the ceiling lines however, infinity is conceivable but not present in this space. In doing this, Drer suggests to the vie wer that viewing in this space can only go so far that infinity is does not exist in spaces and places such as this. Though may be a concomitant to the because that sense of infinity has been limited, the function of the image has changed. Therefore, sight has a different purpose with regards to this image where the female is the key figure. Sight in Das Mnnerbad works as an agent to perpetuate the absolute idea. Likewise, Samuel Y. Edgerton suggests, the vanishing point, when aligned at the center 129 Sight in is controlled and regulated to an enclosed, private, intimate place, prese rve that trans historical narrative that women are allowed to occupy limited space. Their influence does not extend to the infinite realm. Rudolf Arnheim believes that the way in which we look and perceive and image in that first instance, influences ou 129 Edgerton, 35.

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69 characteristics of perception (like linear perspective), not only help wisdom, they also 130 In the instance of wisdom has been restricted. disciplined in this restrictive space. In the book Rhetoric Retold: Regendering the Tradition from Antiquity Through the Renaissance author Cheryl Glenn writes about e past twenty five hundred years in Western culture, the ideal woman has been disciplined by cultural codes that require a closed mouth (silence), a closed body (chastity), and an enclosed life (domestic confinement). Little wonder, then, that women have been closed out of the rhetorical tradition, a tradition of vocal, virile, public and therefore privileged Men have acted in the polis, in the public light of rhetorical discourse, determining philosophic truth, civic good, the literary canon, and the theories and praxes of rhetoric. Meanwhile, women have been circumscribed within the seldom examined idios th e private domain; women have been designated idiots who sustain family, friendships, and their public discoursing men from within the oikos the household. As enclosed bodies, the female sex has been both excluded from and appropriated by the patriarchal territory of rhetorical practices and displays. 131 which women can occupy space (a place) versus that of men. 130 Arnheim, 21. 131 Glenn, 1.

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70 Next, in determining who the intended viewer is, we must again turn to the location of the vanishing point. As Leonardo da Vinci addresses in his staple work A Treatise on Painting sized Instead of a straight on view, Drer decided to place the vanishing point, the point our position, which has been elevated. To confirm, Samuel Y. Edgerton verifie s that the 132 This aerial view is further demonstrated by the most forward, center female figure kneeling on the floor. Notice how her head is tilted at a downward slant, but her eyes look coyl y up at us (the viewer). On a cognitive level, our eye is drawn to this central figure, when we find the vanishing point it becomes clear the intended eye movement the author wanted to viewer to experience of looking down. Because of this, it can be dedu ced that the intended viewer is male. To explain this theory further, if we now turn to Trinity (1425), the position of the viewer is further defined when we identify the vanishing point, as well as the intended narrative. Painted in the ear ly Quattrocento, well before D image has been revered as a supreme representation of scientific painting. Through its 132 Edgerton, 26. Figure 22 Trinity 1425

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71 human figures (showing for example how gravity effects the human body of Christ on the cross), this image embraces Humanism ideology. It is yet another example of the crossbreeding of science and faith showing that man can observe, understand, and control his world, yet acts as (death) and operates as a catalyst to prepare for salvation and show the way to salvation (Christ). 133 As shown in Figure 18 vanishing point that is positioned below the scene of Christ on the cross, thus positioning the viewer below God the Father, the Dove (Holy Spirit), Christ, Mary (in blue), St. John (in red), and the do nors kneeling outside the sacred below these figures it attests to the hierarchical ordering of sight. More specifically, perspective is controlling our response to this image forcing us to have a specific viewpoint. We are conditioned to look up. As an example of this idea, the vaulted upward indicative of the level of humility the spectator must possess in the presence of the Holy Trinity and subsequentl y Mary, St. John, and the 133 Zucker, Steven, Dr., and Beth Harris, Dr. "Raphael's School of Athens." School of Athens N.P., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2013. Figure 23 showing orthogonal lines, vanishing point, and position of viewer

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72 donors as well. So even though this space is controlled by scientific means, our position in this scene is fixed. We are outside the scene but still play a part. And, if that is not convincing enough, our position is further delineated by the inscription above the tomb chose to our line of sight: SON VOI ANCO SARETE. As I am now, so you shal 134 Our inevitable end is death, but our way to eternal life is Christ. instruction to look upwards to Christ. Again, linear perspective and the vanishing point have th instructing the viewer on how an image is to be looked at. It has the potential to control and dictate subjectivity and objectivity. On this point Dr. Vernon Hyde Minor explains about linear [that] sense, you can find the placement of every object in a painting created in terms of linear perspective; further, you can locate the position of the observer in relation to the space of the scene represented. That simply did not occur before the Renaissance. Because the viewer now senses that the work of art is some kind of extension of his or her own space, the sense of identification with the scene is heigh tened. The painting is a microcosm a self 135 In the Figure 24 Showing man's position aligned with vanishing point

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73 nature of linear perspective. Moreover, Robert L. Solso analyzes cognitive responses to imagery. He has 136 When put into the of women bathers, and purports them to be a version, our perception, our initial understanding and knowledge of reality has been nothing but fashioned in such a way as to illicit a specific interaction and hierarchical relationship with this image. tried to show that the artist is creating a gendered space. He does this through mathemat ical means, using linear perspective as a scientific mode of ordering space. In creating an ordered, rational space the artist is able to control the interaction and physical position the viewer has with each image on a more subconscious, cognitive level. In one image, the viewer is on an equal plane with the centric figure; while in another, the viewer dominates the enclosed space. In one, sight encourages the viewer to look toward ulated for a more amorous purpose. Rudolf Arnheim believes that images function as either mere pictures symbols of gender hierarchy. Each visual text represents the accep ted cultural spaces and places that both men and women are allowed to occupy. Merely looking at images is 136 Solso, 74.

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74 damaging, and we must look deeper to really see what the intent of the author really is. To prove this point further, I will next elaborate on how in these two specific images Drer uses form as an artistic tool to influence visual perception.

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75 CHAPTER V THE AUTHENTIC IDEAL: FORM AS A CONTROLLING AGENT IN THE VISUAL EXPERIENCE der alleredelste Sinn des (The sight is the noblest sense of man. A thing you behold is easier of belief than that you hear.) 137 er burned with a desire to 138 We know too that one of mages was to stimulate a sensory impulse to influence our perception of the illusions he created. Or, in other words, the artist wanted his viewers to believe that his work was an accurate representation of things seen in the real world. In D allowed cultural precepts to infiltrate his artwork. himself cal production of visible and tangible effects, in other words, works of art. For Drer, such 137 Maelsaeke, 52. 138 Smith, 69.

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76 139 As stated in the interest in perspective construction is manifest in his work Underweysung der Messung (Manual of Measurement) This work was the embodiment of his Euclid, Piero della Francesca, and various German 140 His study of human proportions and form is apparent in his work titled Vier Bcher von menschlicher Proportion (Four Books on Human Proportion) published compositi on of surfaces grace and beauty must above all be sought. In order to achieve this there seems to me no surer way than to look at Nature and observe long and carefully how she, the wonderful maker of things, has composed the surfaces in beautiful members. 141 It has been determined that Drer felt, like his Italian contemporaries, that 139 Smith, 72 73 140 Smith, 72 73. 141 Alberti, 72. Figure 25 Vier Bucher, Construction Lines of Woman

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77 very 142 as the artist says. Vier Bcher was a literal Erwin Panofsky, in his work The Life and Art of Albrecht Drer, explains that for Drer, some elements of nature can only be mastered through practice. The artist himself said, board a ship without rudder and compass, never having any certainty as to whither they 143 Vier Bcher attestation apply itself quickly and adroitly to the work, and that hand will follow most speedily 144 This doctrin e of practice is evident in his studies of form In Vier Bcher the meticulous nature of his study of the human body and his search for the ideal, or the most beautiful Walter L. Strauss, in the introduction of the 1970 edition of Vier Bcher, shows that this 142 Panofsky, 273. 143 Panofsky, 273. 144 Panofsky, 273. Figure 26 Left Foot, Constructed, Book 1 of the Vier Bucher

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78 to give a glimpse of the working methods of the artist and a sampling of the diversified interests of 145 Additionally, it is evident as well, the extent to which he employed the principles of geometry to identify the See figures 24 and 25 ). To reiterate further, Alberti, who Panofsky notes Drer studied intently, suggests when speaking on composition of form er. They are said to accord well with one another when in size, function, kind, colour and other similar respects they correspond to grace and beauty. For if in a picture the head is enormous, the chest puny, the hand very large, the foot swollen and the body distended, this 146 Vier Bucher is a testament to D balanced form. Pamela H. Smith claims that in order to gain relationship of the human body, [and in doing so] he 145 146 Alberti, 72. Figure 27 The Head constructed by means of the "transfer method" or "Ubertrag." A triangular grid is used to "reflect" each measurement at right angles from its original plane. Figure 28 Stereometric man

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79 studied two or three hundred living individuals. The result was not a work of idealized compass and a multitude of proportional relationships among the parts of the body, so that any artisan wanting to follow his method would have had to pore over his examples, 147 He acted as not on ly as artist, but the instructor. mathematize his art, thereby leading it greater certainty and scholarly legitimacy, and expressing his ideas in terms scholars could understand so they, too, could grasp the certainty that he, as an artisan, found in 148 proportion studies is an additional testament to his search for the ideal human form. For instance, the grid, so often used by Drer, is a prime example of the types of perspective machines the artist used to aid in manipulating and ordering form in space. For exam ple, in Draftsman Drawing a Reclining Woman etched in 1525 and included in his Manuel of Measurements Drer depicts an artist utilizing a grid to illustrate how measurement and perspective work. Jack H. Williamson proposes in his work on the history of specific places... [This constructed] mathematical perspective employed a field based grid either to simulate or to document spatial relationships 147 Smith, 73. 148 Smith, 73. Figure 29 Draftsman Drawing a Reclining Woman, Durer, 1525

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80 between physical 149 Willia mson expresses the fact that the grid is an artistic tool not only for ordering form in space, but as a tool for representing relationships as well the many types of relationships that take place in the visual experience like the physical points of the gri d to the object, the artist to the object being viewed (in this case the woman on the opposite side of the grid), and the viewer to the object being viewed. We cannot forgo the fact that the grid, in its simplest terms, is used as a tool of separation, manipulation, and a mode of controlling space and form with the intent of constructing visual experience. 150 Similarly, we find an additional sketch of this grid in Vier Bcher von Menschlicher Proportion object being viewed ( See Figure 27) These two visuals repre sent not only D search for the authentic form but the scientific manner in which he employed his search. Form Defines Space So, what is form therefore implies that space exists, and y et form cannot exist without space. Thus the organizational arrangement of the visual elements or the formal qualities of the image. 149 Williamson, 19. 150 Taylor, Jennifer A. Power Over Space: Regendering Perspective, Looking and Being Looked at in Drer Prints N.P., Nov. 2012. Figure 30 Albrecht Durer, Sketch, Vier B cher von Menschlicher P roportion

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81 This includes the graphic comp Furthermore, form is discernible by the antithetical forces which give it recognizable 151 This us scenes which when comparing one to the other act as antithetical forces themselves. When we discuss content, this is found only when we examine how form interacts within a given space. To add to this, Rudolf Arnheim quotes painter Ben Shahn who 152 It is in form that the visual narrative (or visual pattern) is conceivable. Robert L. Solso explains this concept further when he describes the neurol ogical processes of identifying form in his work titled Cognition and the Visual Arts simple patterns: lines, figure/ground, edges, contrasts, and the like. These basic patterns ar 153 So, in other words, form makes known the content. Solso asserts here that subconsciously the brain identifies form automatically and classifies input from the eyes into recogniz able patterns. These patterns are identified not only by their antithetical forces, but the orientation of shapes to one another, which tells the viewer the position and function of form within a given space. It is up to the artist, then, to order and co nstruct those patterns, of which will ultimately determine the type of narrative the artist wants the viewer to perceive. 151 Zelanski, 81. 152 Arnheim, 96. 153 Solos, 51.

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82 To explain form and content further, in his work Meaning in the Visual Arts, Erwin Panofsky determines that man made objects cannot form or matter in space is determined. For it is form 154 So when we examine form what one needs to identify is first, the arrangement of form in space Second, one needs to understand content (the visual patterns) or the visual narrative of the image. And lastly, in order to determine the intentions of the artists who produced the image, one needs to identify the standards of their specific period, and the environment that influenced the artist to construct form in its given manner (i.e. historical context). These three steps I will follow only how Drer creates a gendered narrative, but how through the use of form he constructs visual experience by showing that form functions differently but still as a controlling agent, in Das Mnnerbad and The Arrangement of Form in Space It is evident in his wo rk Vier Bcher that Drer was keen on examining the shape and movement of the human form at every angle. These two bath scenes reflect this mastery. As explained, Drer creates a space and populates it with the human form, but in each image form acts dif ferently. In the female bath scene, because the 154 Panofsky, 12 13.

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83 image was done with ink on paper, the nature of the materials in which this image was produced contribute to the softer, thinner lines that were necessary in creating the feminine form. In this version the structural lines of the ceiling lead the eye to the fluid The nature of this space emphasizes roundness and softness, accentuating the sensuous curvilinear nature of th e female form. Whereas in the male bath scene, the nature of the mechanics of woodcutting attests to the bolder, linear shapes and patterns of form. Instead of the essence of softness and fluidity, the aggressive, tough lines establish furthe r the masculine nature of the scene. Whereas the arcuated flow of forms in the female bath scene accentuate the terrestrial attributes of women and their connection with Nature, the erect presentation of the male bath scene bsolute 155 This principle is readily apparent in a number of D ieces. 155 T he tradition of the bath scene in art alludes to the connection o f water to the female form due to a very ancient i Figure 31 Durer bath scenes, side by side to evaluate form in space

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84 form through his different studies, culminated in female form on display. Therefore, form acts differently here. On the other hand, in the essence of individuality is apparent. The forms in this scene were not into the absolute idea of Man. Where subjectivity was the purpose in the male bath scene, so that no single object has priority 156 Where Bath highlights the col lective effort of manipulating and displaying form in a limited space the individual nature of each form in highlights the collective exploration into the sh Kuspit continues to show were of immediate interest as a perpetual fountain of forms, always pouring forth Platonism is his faith in proportion as the organizing principle of reality, proportion being for Plato the common ground of intelligibility between objects, a means of establishing was only a figure that conveyed the essential closeness of women and water. But whether she is washing or purifying herself, the woman at the bath is nude. It is her essential characteristic, for the painter, for the It is interesting to note then, that in the female bath scene water is apparent, whereas in the male bath scene water is absent. 156 Kuspit, 163

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85 157 This proportion and symmetry is manifest in the antithetical forces of the curvilinear an d straight lines in not only the bath scenes, but in other pieces Drer created as well. For example, in his Draftsman Drawing a Reclining Woman (1525), Apollo and Diana (1505), and Fall of Man (Adam and Eve) (1504), proportion and symmetry takes place on many levels, but Kuspit points out that it is because of the binary symmetry of the human form (the way form is arranged in space) in such images connotations of elegance comes at a price if we see these two images through a gendered lens. In Draftsman Drawing a Reclining Woman, what we are given is a literal manifestation of binary symmetry and antith etical forces at work. And, in taking note of the binary symmetry it is easy to see exactly who it is that the artist identifies as the subject and the object. to book on mathe this illustration describes the practice of illustrating form case the female model] to be drawn a good distance away. Move it or bend it as you like...so as to ple 158 In an effort to show binary symmetry, the pictured artist not only distances himself from the object of observation, but controls her positioning choosing that which is most pleasing. The male figure has total control of space, and controls how the woman is to be viewed. Because of this separation of sexes (antithetical forces), Drer has called attention to the hierarchy of genders. On the one side we see a very controlled, modern, rational erect space seen in the vertical man, the plant, the 157 Kuspit, 163. 158 Ffo liott, 56.

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86 upright pen and view piece, and even in the very controlled lines of the grid. On the natural world are here intimately aligned: they are both presented to the v iewer as 159 Concordantly, he then expresses the fact that individualism, creation, and the power to control what is being seen is at the mercy of the male artist thus furthering this idea of the taken away from the female or the natural and bestowed to the tool laden man here 160 Because the femal e figure in this image is being displayed in such a fashion, Drer highlights the echelons creating the circumstances of each gender through a display of binary forces. And, we, the male spectator, align our perceptions with that of the artist. Moreove r, if we apply modern feminist scholarship further, the woman is a sexualized commodity for the eye, because she is owned in this light by the artist, she becomes an actual object worthy of scrutiny, analysis, and exploration. John Berger r believed that the ideal nude ought to be constructed by taking the face of one body, the breasts of anther, the legs of a third, and shoulders of a fourth, the hand of a fifth and so on. The result would glorify Man. But the exercise presumed a remark 161 Because of this mode of capturing binary symmetry and form separate areas such as the neck, eyes, skin, mouth and hair, and other factors like her size 159 Felluga 160 Felluga 161 Berger, 62.

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87 the [works of artist 162 Arranging the female figure in this way, with the undertones of using mathematical principles to substantiate D creates a prescription for subsequent artists of how to arrange the male and female form in space. Similarly, in Apollo and Diana (1505), and Fall of Man (Adam and Eve) (1504), form further intimates the bilateral symmetry associated with gender. But e, is soft in the other. Where one is meek, the other is bold. Where one is erect, the other is prostrate. Where one is prone to sin, the other is hesitant. Where one is connected with the earth, the other is associated with ingenuity and action. Donal d Kuspit explains further this binary use of form for furthering gender bias, through, appropriately, a god like, Apollonian figure, whose flesh was most subject to the rule o f form. It has been said that Drer does less justice to the female than the male length with this explanation, but it is important to note: 162 Simons, 49 50. Figure 32 Apollo and Diana Albrecht Durer, 1505, Engraving.

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88 Drer almost always finds w such scenes as Apollo and Diana, the female is seated, so that one is less able to abstract th e over all form from her flesh, while the male is upright, standing so that his body is unobscured in its determinate form, despite the twist to its torso. When the female body is plainly an instance of divine form, of well proportioned poise, as in the s tanding Eve of the engraving of the Fall of Man in the sense that she is acted upon or in the sense that she is no more than her flesh. Only when male and female their bodies 163 This evaluation applies to the bath scenes as well. In essenc e, these images act more as symbols than accurate representations of actual experience. It picture is primarily the demonstration of perfect form, the intelligibility of reality, and the divine source o f order, and only secondarily the imitation of nature, the 164 which seems to go can be argued that in image creation especially where gender is related Drer is more apt to display his mastery with precise, accurate nature as seen in the vegetation beyond the hu man figures but ignores the authentic human form because he is trying to adhere to culturally prescribed gender contingencies when arranging form in space. 163 Kuspit, 165. 164 Kuspit, 166. Figure 33 Fall of Man (Adam and Eve), Albrecht Durer, 1504, Engraving

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89 Identifying a Visual Narrative s. Likewise, visual narrative implies creating a persuasive story through imagery. Narrative also signifies purpose. Where one highlights enlightenment, the other is purely erotic. These two systems of representation, when displayed side by side, intert wine and ultimately re though, in reality, it is just an illusion of strategies of the artist invite us (the viewer) to understand the visual language of these two bath scenes as a transparent communication of difference. Again, to use my argument about antithetical forces, the gendered message is further conveyed through how form functions communicating binary opposites. In Das Mnnerbad, what the viewer is presented with is the illusion of an prosaic scene, ingenuity, diversity, and distinction are the subversive messages here. Erwin Panofsky 165 As I noted before, each man is engaging and active. Whether it be through drink, music, or conversation, each man represents a difference facet of the male condition. Additionally, I believe that Drer knew of the erotic historical tradition of bath scenes, and therefore intentionally steered the viewer away from sexuality (by covering up the male genitals) to allow the focal point to be a more enlightening message. Yes, masculinity is made very apparent with the cock and spigot but it is not the main focus here; and that instance 165 Panofsky, 50.

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90 humor (another characteristic reserved for men). scene was to not stimulate an erotic response (though that definitely can be argued), but more to invite the viewer in to the scene. This absence of eroticism becomes empowering. We, the viewer, are invited to look and participate just like the bystander nudes are characteristic of a Renaissance outlook on the world, according to which the physically perfect m 166 This image acts as an Bath on the other hand, is a direct binary opposite with re gards to its visual narrative. Thi s is true when we look at the function of form The function of form in this image is to put on display that which is to be hidden. Form functions as a titillating visual experience for the male viewer. Maybe that subversive narrative (to display the hidd en) was D these two images, one can only speculate. depictions of women are so often bound by visual conventions, based on longstanding gender based stereotypes perpetuated by a predominately male patronage system and 167 So what are those visual conventions? Ch eryl Glenn adequately reminds us 166 Maelsaeke, 54. 167 Hults, 205.

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91 twenty five hundred years in Western culture, the ideal woman has been disciplined by cultural codes that require a closed mouth (silence) a closed body (chastity), and an 168 These conventions of silence, chastity, and there is no vocal communication, no immorality, and a clear representation of domesticit y seen in the two male baby figures as well as the pot, stove, and the indoor setting of the bathhouse. Interestingly enough the only communication that is occurring in this particular image is visual communication. And with that visual communication ste ms a subverted message of eroticism. First, the setting of the indoor bathhouse alludes the viewing public. Yet, as Joanne Bernstein shows, bathing as a subject is purely to display the human form again, to allow public what is hidden When discussing the human form she further shows that with and reproductive organs, whereas the extant anatomical drawings of the male include a wide r ange of detailed studies of the muscular and skeletal systems as well as region perhaps as a visual illusion representing pregnancy (domesticity), the alluring 168 Glenn, 1. Figure 34 Albrecht Durer, Bath Attendant 1493, drawing

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92 display of the various breasts (reproductive organs), as well as the two male babes who viewer (us) are surely restricted to loo king at the female genitalia and reproductive Bath Attendant (1493), where again we see the emphasis on the reproductive organs. Visual communication appears in this triad connec tion of eyes be tween the front farthest most corner of the bathhouse, whose eyes gaze upon the bathing women. This triad of visual communication underlies the fact that not only is looking accepted, but it is welcomed. Author Joanne Bernstein provides this description of the : In the bathing women, Drer uses the multiple figures to display his mastery of the female body in various poses, and he develops the image into a casual genre scene in which the nudity of the women is presented for the pleasure of the viewer. A comprehens ive view of the female body is achieved by showing the figures from the front, the back, standing, and seated; he also displays a variety of female types by contrasting the young and beautiful with the old and distorted. The presentation of the subject ta kes on a special tone by including at the left two young children (apparently male); one offers a sponge to a woman, while the other gazes up at the nude woman whose exposed genitals would be hard to ignore. The sub theme is made explicit by the depiction of a man (perhaps Drer himself), peeking through the opened door in the background. No female voyeurs are added to Das Mnnerbad. 169 To elaborate here, the sub means there, I believe relates to his idea of visual communication. Looking is encouraged. Where the kneeling woman shyly looks out at us (the viewer), we look boldly back at her along with the male babes and male voyeur in the background. This narrative of looking (for a specific p urpose) further perpetuates the role of women and the function of the female form. We (the viewer) control this erotically charged space merely 169 Bernstein, 52 54

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93 the female nude is thus an 170 This visual narrative is telling showing how controll ed and bound the female form is to the viewing male subject. Historical Texts that Influence Perceptions of Gender If we determine the gender ideology at this time period, and iden tify scholastic a glimpse into how form functions in each scene one with the clear purpose to enlighten, and the other as entertainment for the viewing subject. One 1529) The Book of the Courtier printed 1546) commentary on Genesi 1519) A Treatise on Painting first On Painting ; and further scholastic texts of the mid Renaissance. Incidentally, the majority of these texts were produced by Italian autho rs, yet they are none the less impermissible due to the nature of Albrecht throughout his lifetime. denotes, as modern feminist scholars so aptly bring to our attention, the inferior sociocultural station with which women find themselves in during the Renaissance. It has become m ore apparent to me how sight has a subversive affair with the female The Book of the Courtier visible beauty is a 170 Nead, 6.

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94 virtue, yet is more incising to the eye when said virtue is hidden. In the first book, the Count s uggests this of beauty in women: How much more attractive than all the others is a pretty woman who is quite clearly wearin g no make up on her face, which is neither too pallid nor too red, and whose own colouring is natural and somewhat pale (but who oc casionally blushes openly from embarrassment or for some other reason), who lets her unadorned hair fall casually and unarranged, and whose gestures are simple and natural, betraying no effort or anxiety to be beautiful. Such is the uncontrived simplicity which is most attractive to the eyes and minds of men, who are always afraid of being tricked by art. In a woman, lovely teeth are always very pleasing, for since they are hidden from view most the hands which, if they are delicate and fine, and are uncovered at the right time, when there is need to use and not just to display their beauty, leave one with a great desire to see more of them, especially after they have been covered again with glov street on her way perhaps to church, happens, in play or for some other reason, to raise just enough of her skirts to reveal her foot and often a little of her leg as well. Does it not strike you as a truly graceful sight if she is seen just at that moment, delightfully feminine, showing her velvet ribbons assumes that elegance in a pla ce where it is generally hidden from view must be uncontrived and natural rather than carefully calculated, and that it cannot be intended to win admiration. 171 with Is the artist highlighting the hidden virtues of women? The ideal female form is clearly on display here; controlled in such a way as to emphasize the delicate, pale, uncontrived simplicity, yet subversively sensual and natural essence of woman hidden, yet exposed and inviting to the eyes of men. Ian Maclean in his book The Renaissance Notion of Women provides a framework the Renaissance various locations in Western Europe. This work further describes the sociocultural hierarchy of gender at this time. For example, he demonstrates how the Bible story of Adam and Eve, has weaker powers of reason than Adam, so less may be expected of her; but on the other 171 Castiglione, Baldassarre, 87.

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95 hand, she alo the devil ( janua diaboli) 172 suscep tible to sin and vice. To bring forth again, modern research confirms that it was once related to masculinity, and thus was visually represented in imagery with the male form tran sitioned to being visually represented by the female form in images due to her vulnerability to sin, sensual nature, lack of reason, and intimate connection with vice. 173 Furthermore, Maclean notes Francesco Robortello (1516 1567) who declared that men are placed at a great disadvantage to her male counterpart, since she has a tendency to vice, less impulsive to virtue because of her weaker powers of reason and judgment, and is fu will to the will and authority of her husband, and follow his advice in all decent 174 the soul, making beauty no longer an occasio peccati but rather a step on the ladder to 175 Though, Theodor Zwinger (1543 irtue is Theologians like Thomas de Vio, Cardinal Cajetan (1469 1534) and Martin Luther (1483 172 Maclean, Ian. 15. 173 Nordenfalk, Carl. 7. 174 Maclean, 51. 175 Maclean, 17.

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96 of the sexes from a biblical standpoint. Thomas de Vio described woman to be the Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing 176 Genesis 1:26 27 177 saying: Lest women should seem to be excluded from all glory of future life, Moses mentions both sex es; it is evident therefore that woman is a different animal to man, not only having different members, but also being far weaker in intellect [ ingenium ]. But although Eve was a most noble creation, like Adam, as regards the image of God, that is, in justice, wisdom and salvation, she was none the less a woman. For as the sun is more splendid than the moon (although the moon is also a most splendid body), so also woman, although the most beautiful handi work of God, does not equal the dignity and glory of the male. 178 Either way, their virtues are clearly reflected visually in Through the various positions of the human structure, the beauty of the feminine form is apparent from every angle, as well as their seemingly delicate nature. Leon Battista dens movements and deportment should be pleasing and adorned with a delightful simplicity, more indicative 179 Domestic prudence is made apparent with the presence of the male child gazing upon, what is assumed to be, his mother, as well as in the interior setting of the bath house (versus the exterior setting for the male 176 The Bible: King James Version 177 The Bible: King James Version. image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over t he fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own 178 Maclean, 10. 179 Albe rti, 80.

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97 in this mother who exposes her sex to her observin g male child. I say ironic because and young people to have their legs too much asunder, because it denotes boldness while 180 Could it b e that Drer knew this, and thus the the nature of the visual narrative altogether? Therefore, the central female who gazes out demurely at the viewer, is modestly pose d perhaps suggesting bashfulness timidity of exposing what should be hidden. Rather than boldly displaying herself, her reticent demeanor invites Final Remarks on Form When we examine form construction of the ideal rather than accurate form in reality. Though, as Panofsky shows, Drer did not discriminate against representing the huma n figure in multiple ways, as we see with the full figured woman who faces away from the viewer. But where the male such as Willibald Pirckheimer (the seated man drinking) and Lukas and Stephan Paumgartner (two front work) women the artist may have come into contact with during his l ife abroad or in Nuremberg. Knowing that, it still can be argued that the function, or purpose, of form 180 Da Vinci, 36.

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98 varies from one work to the other. Where one functions as a learning tool a representation of the absolute the other acts as entertainment for the male viewing audience show too, this Renaissance ideology about gender roles could clearly be the criterion to which Drer manipulated form in these two bath scenes. Popular scholarsh ip at that time is a testament to gendering norms. This further attests to how Drer not only constructs visual literacy through form to establish a controlled gendered narrative, but designs visual experience to favor the male as viewer as well.

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99 CHAPTER VI CONCLUSION DISRUPTING THE VISUAL EXPERIENCE statement seems antithetical to Renaissance philosophies of art that Albrecht Drer and other artist of this time ascribed to that Truth and Knowledge of human experience is found in art, because art mimics things seen. But who is right? In determining the legitimacy of the visual experience, the only way to answer this question is to disrupt it; to brea k down the visual experience and actively perceive the cultural conventions in which an image was constructed and produced. Active perceiving involves an in depth analysis of all parts of an image from the production process to the final product to determ work manifests this theory. In the breaking down of the technical aspects of linear perspective and form, he enunciates this idea that the visual experience is deceptive and l iable to inquiry. 181 In doing this he brings to light the problems cultural identity conventions can cause. Namely, that cognitive patterns of identity exist and are preserved cenes. truth becomes subservient to, to use the German term, Weltanschauung or a c omprehensive conception of the universe and of humanity's relationship to it. This is the same essentialist ideology that Barbara Kruger was fighting against through her work. 181 The twentieth century has trended toward investigating the psychology of art.

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100 nt ways because of the vast diversity in the way we humans develop individual mental structures 182 be that individual mental structures have been continuously doctored in s uch a way by artists so that our knowledge of human experience is limited to a specific cognitive pattern? I assert that our perceptions of things are deeply rooted in how we have been ly, the structure of becomes a recognizable cognitive pattern uneasily broken even today. When looking at he pictorial conventions of identity (which is deeply rooted in Renaissance cultural contingencies of gender roles), and perceive wrongly because of it. It is often easier to perceive what we know, rather than what we see. An adverse historical discourse has developed over time about the status of women, in part based on the prevalence of cognitive patterns found in artwork. In this study I have tried to prove this theory through exploring not only the science of art, but how this science plays out in the two secular bath scenes done by renowned Renaissance artist, Albrecht Drer 183 and Bath (Das Mannerbad) (1498) 184 My aim was to examine how gendered power relations exist in the art of Albrecht Drer, and show that these re lations are implicated in the nature of artistic visual dimensions, such as perspective and form. I explored how Drer 182 Solso, 3. 183 See Image 1 184 See Image 2

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101 beliefs and concerns in general about the social an d cultural positions of men and women in the process of creating visual narrative s. Gendered hierarchy is a function of form and perspectival techniques and is evident in Northern Renaissance artwork. More specifically, perspective and form are used by Northern Renaissance artist Albrecht Drer as both a practical, scientific applicat ion as well as an artistic mode, in such a way that intentionally constructs perceptions of gender identity creating a gendered space and complicates the subject/object relationship by depicting who owns that space, or who owns perspective. 185 In this way, I endeavored to show that cognitive patterns of recognition which are founded upon those scientific principles of linear perspective and form are built from persistent visual cultural narratives, and therefore disrupt the visual experi ence and expose it as corrupt In the first half I expounded upon the controlling nature of linear perspective and the vanishing point. I establish how Drer creates space (a place), and in doing so he indicates positioning physical position as well as social position, alon g with subjectivity representing his artwork, Drer substantiates his credibility. Yet, his work is unreliable when faced with historical accounts of authentic human experience s. Through the use of linear perspective he regulates sight for instructional purposes 185 Evans, 18.

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102 control the undisciplined human faculty of sight. 186 In this way he is governing the visual experience. world and represents it in artistic constructions, consciously or unconsciously, from the 187 T hey further propose that we must realize that artistic agendas are formed in part due to their responses to the existing gender structures of the time and place. 188 work are very unique with regards to the subject matter, I propose that these are use of an artif icial system of signs, linear perspective, in order to promote controlled social interactions that in their turn will create an ideal social artifact: a decorous would. form relegates women to the images in this light (as antithetical forces or binary opposites), we identify further evid body. 189 characteristics of confinement, silence, and domesticity. Londa Schiebinger suggests that 186 Nadav Manes, 17. 187 Broude and Garrard, 3 4. 188 Broude and Garrard, 4. 189 Schiebinger, 133.

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103 190 And so, Drer presents form not as it is, but as it was most pleasing to the Renaissance eye. 191 red a portable format that was not only accessible to wider audiences, but gave the freedom to illustrate everyday anxieties 192 Renaissance women were more mobile at this time than the prescription indicates they practiced traditional female occup ations such as midwifery, wet nursing and domestic service, along with practicing as wool merchants, weavers, cutlers, leatherworkers, butchers, ironmongers, glovers, bookbinders, or goldsmiths. 193 th century [that] women were no longer responsible for as much of the production of basic 194 As trade guilds became powerful institutions, consolidating th eir power, they passed strict regulations excluding women from traditional occupations they once flourished in (especially in Northern European towns like Nuremberg) and relegated them to the margins of the world of work. 195 Nurse explains further that du increasingly alienated from the sphere of women, not only through fear of succumbing to 196 As women became less mobile in subsequent years, Judith Bro 190 Schiebinger, 151. 191 Schiebinger, 202. 192 Nurse, 2. 193 Brown, 209. Other occupations of Renaissance women were found on this site: http://library.thinkquest.org/C006522/life/women.php 194 http://library.thinkquest.org/C006522/life/women.php 195 Brown, 212. 196 Nurse, 2.

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104 poorly paid, low skilled occupations because they accumulated less human capital bearers, providers of childcare, and domest ic labor results in their more limited and discontinuous presence in the job market, making it harder for them to acquire the 197 theory that portrayals of women in this class ical, structured, and controlled fashion were the ideal, th us supporting the effects of sexual discrimination. The science of art is a vast discourse to navigate through. Though the origins of modern science have been examined to a great extent by numerous feminist scholars, I found the unique discourse of the science of art to be lacking in feminist thought. My effort in attacking this topic was with the hope of rectifying that deficiency. But because my study is very narrow, much more work can and should be done, specifically with regards to the controlling p ower of perspective and form in art. Here I quote Londa to transform both science and society so that power and privilege no longer follow gender 198 This is my hope as well. 197 Brown, 214. 198 Schiebinger, 277.

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105 REFERENCES Alberti, Leon Battista, and Martin Kemp. On Painting Trans. Cecil Grayson. London: Penguin, 2005. Print. Alpers, Svetlana. The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century Chicago: University of Chicago, 19 83. Print. xxiv. Arnheim, Rudolf. Visual Thinking Berkeley: University of California, 1997. Print. Arnheim, Rudolf. Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye Berkeley, CA: University of California, 2004. Print. Berger, John. Ways of Se eing London: British Broadcasting Corporation, 1972. Print. Bernal, J. D. "Dialectical Materialism and Modern Science." Science and Society Quarterly Inc. 2.1 (1937): 58 66. Print. Bernstein, Joanne G. "The Female Model and the Renaissance Nude: Durer, Giorgione, and Raphael." Artibus Et Historiae 13.26 (1992): 49 63. Web. 19 Mar. 2013. . Broude, Norma, and Mary D. Garrard. Reclaiming Female Ag ency: Feminist Art History after Postmodernism Berkeley: University of California, 2005. Print. Bryson, Norman. Visual Theory: Painting and Interpretation New York: Icon, 1991. Print. "CCA." CCA RSS N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2014. Castiglione, Baldassar re, and George Anthony Bull. The Book of the Courtier Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976. Print. Colgan, Jennifer. "Alberti and Masaccio." Alberti and Masaccio N.p., Apr. 2009. Web. 26 Dec. 2013. Crary, Jonathan. Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Mod ernity in the Nineteenth Century Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1990. Print. Da Vinci, Leonardo. A Treatise on Painting Trans. J. F. Rigaud. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2005. Print. Discourse on Method, Optics, Geometry, and Meteorology Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Pub., 2001. Print. Emphasis added. Dewey, John. Art as Experience New York: Be rkley Pub. Group, 2005. Print. The Human Figure; the Complete "Dresden Sketchbook." Comp. Walter L. Strauss. New York: Dover Publica tions, 1972. Print. Underweysung Der Messung Edgerton, Samuel Y. The Renaissance Rediscovery of Linear Perspective New York: Harper & Row, 1976. Print.

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