Brunelleschi’s Demonstration of Space

The Call for Papers is open from June 3 to July 29. 

If you would like to speak at the 2022 AAANZ Conference, you can now apply to join one of the panels detailed at

To apply, read the instructions, and then submit your Paper Proposal Form to the relevant Panel Convenor.

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At this years AAANZ conference I am convening the panel ’Brunelleschi’s Demonstration of Space’. In hope you’ll propose a paper as part of the panel, the panel’s description is as follows:

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In Florence in the early fifteenth century, Filippo Brunelleschi demonstrated single-point perspective with a picture panel and mirror while he stood in the central portal of Santa Maria del Fiore. Painters adopted the demonstration’s technical ramifications, and the Church celebrated their more life-like paintings. Yet the demonstration’s philosophical and scientific ramifications promulgated by Nicholas of Cusa led Giordano Bruno to be burned at the stake. It presented questions on the nature of space that contradicted an Aristotelian Universe with anisotropic matter-filled places, not isotropic space. Much, nevertheless, remains contested. Not only Brunelleschi’s method but also perspective’s replacement of a theocentric viewpoint with a subjective or anthropocentric point of view in today’s ‘posthuman’ world. 

The panel welcomes 20-minute papers that explore the history of perspective and the ensuing nature of space in contemporary art. 

This includes, for instance, its first art historical treatment by Erwin Panofsky in his essay ’Perspective as Symbolic Form’. Here, perspective’s ‘reality’ accords with a Kantian dichotomy in which space is an empty ‘form’ of thought separate from any content of the world outside. Yet, in 1960s New York, artists contested ’a priori space’ with the art of the real. Were they unrealistic to do so?

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