Re: Harunobu & Escher

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Posted by John Fiorillo on February 05, 2003 at 19:10:14:

In Reply to: Re: Harunobu & Escher posted by Hans Olof Johansson on February 04, 2003 at 12:13:42:

Hans Olof,

Your point is valid, of course, as the top of the vertical line should indeed be occluded by the overhanging balcony.

It's curious, however, that the more I look at your modification, the more I am bothered by its effect. Removing the upper part of the vertical line of the door-frame makes it seem, in an even more pronounced fashion than in the original, that the tassels hang from the balcony, not the door frame. So I wonder whether the original version might represent Harunobu's intuitive though imperfect "solution" to managing so many closely spaced parallel lines (he painted himself into a corner, literally and figuratively, with such an arrangement!) by extending the vertical line (despite its being part of the door frame) to increase the sense of depth in the upper corner and make the tassels appear to be behind the balcony support, not hanging from it. This would suggest intentionality, but for a purpose very different from Escher's.

In any case, whether this was Harunobu's intuitive approach or a mistake by him or the block cutter, as you suggest, the main points of my earlier argument were that nearly all ukiyo-e artists produced acceptable but flawed perspective views (as demonstrated in this Harunobu), and that this lack of a comprehensive understanding meant that these artists would not have had the awareness to purposely violate the rules of geometry and perspective with an Escher-like methodology for the sake of humor or visual puns.


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