Encyclopedia of Perspective

The PRC is proud to announce publication of Kim Veltman’s: Encyclopedia of Perspective; a colossal project which Kim worked on for over 40 years and is his magnum-opus, being the definitive work on its subject matter that is today a wonder to behold.

This book is the first unabridged-edition of Kim Veltman’s monumental Encyclopedia of Perspective; providing a comprehensive treatise on the key topic/method of perspective; herein meticulously placed into a myriad of historical context(s). Behold the epic story of perspective, beautifully presented in relation to all of its origins, kaleidoscopic source(s), vast literature(s), and in a wondrous variety of expressive forms. Professor Veltman’s definitive encyclopaedia on perspective is articulated using one-million words, 2500 pages, eight-volumes, 15,000 bibliographic titles and has over 1000 illustrations.

The Encyclopedia is a fountainhead of profound wisdom on all topics related to perspective; and it is arranged in 3 parts. To begin we have Part 1: The Sources of Perspective (volumes: 1:Treatise, 2:Plates). Whereby focus is placed on the role of the Renaissance; beginning with basic definitions of linear perspective and related methods.

It lists the main centres where perspective texts were published, tracing a shift from Italy in the 15th century, to Germany and France in the 17th, London in the 18th, before becoming an international phenomenon in the 19th century. In the process, it was variously classed under optics, drawing and mathematics (geometry). The latter part of the book explores major implications of Renaissance perspective with respect to instrumentation and science, art and representation, architecture and the environment, imagination and freedom.

Secondly, we have Part 2: The Literature of Perspective (volumes: 3:Treatise, 4:Plates, 5:Appendix). Whereby explored are the implications of perspective in the past century. It begins with early theories of art historians, psychologists, philosophers, Marxists, the role of media, optics and instruments. Later chapter(s) examine changing relations between vision and representation, the role of retinal images, geometrical versus visual space, and the status of perspective. Following chapters outline technical applications (e.g. scenography, intarsia, trompe-l’oeil, quadrature, architecture, gardens and environment, alternative methods, instruments and machines) and metaphorical applications (e.g. philosophy, literature, psychology, psychiatry, etymology, anthropology, sociology, theology).

A concluding section reviews recent developments such as geographical information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), virtual reality (VR), computer graphics (CG), computer generated imagery (CGI), holograms and space imagery. Finally we have Part 3: The Bibliography of Perspective (volumes: 6: Antiquity-1899, 7: 1899-2020) which is chronological list of 15,000 manuscripts, treatises, books and articles on perspective.

Perspective is a relatively new method that is a key to understanding major categories of art/science/ technology history in the past 500 years. Perspective introduced new way(s) of viewing, matching, and making representations of the physical world. This changed the meaning of metaphor and the relation of verbal texts to visual expressions. Perspective drew attention to the distinction between subject and object; and inspired a fascination with views, which split into two different directions. One was towards realism, leading to topographical views, geometrical and architectural drawings—hence accurate dimensional measurement. The second led to panoramic, distorted, imaginative and illusionistic spaces. Hence, perspective, which began as a quest for certification of sight and representation, became synonymous with freedom, imagination and a key to unlimited dimensions of the human spirit.

This one-of-a-kind—Encyclopedia of Perspective—can inspire and inform students about the origins, technical details and compelling history of perspective. It is a must-have for anyone seriously interested in the visual dimensions of art, science and culture; and it makes a fine addition to any school, college and/or university library.

Origins – World Bibliographic Database on Perspective

Professor Kim H. Veltman was founder and Scientific Director of The Perspective Unit—which began research work on perspective formally as part of the McLuhan Program at the University of Toronto (1990); later the Unit became part of the Maastricht McLuhan Institute again under Kim’s direction (1998-2004); and then finally from 2004 at the Virtual Maastricht Institute based at his home until the sad passing of Kim in 2020.

The project began while preparing a bibliography commissioned by the organizers (Marisa Dalai Emiliani at the suggestion of Eugenio Battisti) of the first world conference on perspective (Milan, 1977). Work continued on this while in Germany from 1977 to 1984, with the support of the Volkswagen, Humboldt, Thyssen and Henkel Foundations. In 1986-1987, the titles of 8,000 primary and 7,000 secondary sources were entered into a computer (IBM compatible AT, with DBASEIII PLUS) with the support of the Getty Center for the History of Art in Santa Monica.

Today the end result of all Kim’s hard work for so many years is that we have the first and only comprehensive bibliography of perspective: with over 15,000 titles; and it has become the Standard World Database on Perspective.

We have published the database as part of Kim Veltman’s Encyclopaedia of Perspective (formerly known at the Sources and Bibliography of Perspective). The database is named as a Bibliography of perspective and makes up volumes 6,7, and 8 as seen below.

The Encyclopaedia of Perspective

The centre recently published Kim Veltman’s “The Encyclopaedia of Perspective” which is the definitive reference text on this subject; articulated using one-million words, 2500 pages, eight-volumes, 15,000 bibliographic titles and has over 1000 illustrations.

The 8 volumes of The Encyclopaedia of Perspective are free to download; but the volumes are also available for purchase in printed form on Amazon.

Volume 1: The Sources of Perspective (treatise)

Volume 2:  The Sources of Perspective (plates)

Volume 3: The Literature of Perspective (treatise)

Volume 4:  The Literature of Perspective (plates)

Volume 5: The Literature of Perspective (appendix)

Volume 6: The Bibliography of Perspective (chronological list: Antiquity-1899)

Volume 7:  The Bibliography of Perspective (chronological list: 1900-2020)

Volume 8: The Bibliography of Perspective (alphabetical list: Antiquity-2020)