Glossary

What is an atmospheric perspective

Before providing the atmospheric art definition, one must be aware of the fact that it is also known as Aerial perspective! The technique of modulating color to replicate changes made by the atmosphere on the colors of distant objects in a painting or drawing to create the sense of depth or recession. Although aerial perspective has been employed since antiquity, it was Leonardo da Vinci who coined the word in his Treatise on Painting, where he wrote: "Colours weaken in proportion to their distance from the person who is gazing at them."


Landscape painters can emulate various visual illusions created by the intervening atmosphere between a viewer and, for example, distant mountains. The environment softens or blurs inner detail, causing distant forms to have less clear edges and outlines than forms closer to the viewer. At a distance, distant objects appear lighter than items of identical tone that are closer at hand, and contrasts between light and shade appear less dramatic. Because the density of the intervening atmosphere is larger at lower heights, all of these impacts are more noticeable at the base of a mountain than at its pinnacle.


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