Apart from the obvious theme of perspective, which plays a dominant role in Paul Heineken’s book, the concept of decoration and art caught my attention. After a brief reflection, I realized how well decorated and how almost over-detailled his drawings about perspective are. By progressing through the figures, the amount of decoration increases. One page struck me in particular, where an entrance to a staircase is accompanied by detailled figures of people moving around and a strong highlight on the shadows. Almost as if it’s rather a piece of art than a perspective drawing.
The amount of detail does not stop there – Several more elements, like plants as example, can be seen on the drawing, despite not playing a huge or relevant role in the aspect of perspective, which is the main theme of Heineken’s book. On other pages, he adds full paintings to the scene, despite them being two-dimensional and not being challenging in terms of perspective. His huge amount of details does not stop here, as he even recreates every-day sceneries in his architectural drawings. Architecture seems like it is presented like a painting in many figures.
The quality of the book as a treatise of numerous magnificent examples of perspective is unquestionable. Despite trying to achieve a collection of many figures, he does not shy away from decorating his examples in full detail, even adding moving people and strong shadows to enhance the scenery. Technically speaking, in order to show examples of flawless perspective, he could have reduced his work to simple structural drawings of columns, architraves and other archtitectural elements without adding, as an example, people or plants. This is seen on the mentioned page, where the majority of details added by the autor is not relevant to the perspective itself. So why are we still blessed with this amount of details, if compared to other treatises written before him?
Paul Heineken wrote and published his book during the Baroque, and the concept of decoration could be linked with the mentality of the time. Many figures include a sort of scenery with people, reminding of the performative and theatrical aspect of architecture. The creativity of the architectural stlye and decoration is very baroquesque, reflecting the period and differentiating “Lucidum Perspectivae Speculum” from other known treatises.
Scenery – Art – Details