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Introduction

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This book examines the role of perspective in architecture, not however in terms of the methods and techniques of representation, but rather in relation to changing notions of order in history. Building upon – and challenging – recent scholarship in the field, notably in the work of Hubert Damisch, Alberto Pérez-Gómez, Karsten Harries and Dalibor Vesely, the study argues that from its earliest developments perspective was understood as a redemptive view of order whose origins can be traced back to a deeper philosophical tradition, well before the advent of perspectiva artificialis. This tradition provided the foundation of what was later to emerge – as a theoretical possibility – an ideal constructed perspectival world. Such a world was deemed potentially perfectible in the eyes of humanity (and of God) and could therefore be distinguished from the equivocations and uncertainties of everyday circumstance.