Euclid Enhanced by Amy Ione and Christopher Tyler

Magritte’s Les Promenades d’Euclide (“The Promenades of Euclid”)(1955) offers us a view of a scene outside a window that is hidden by a canvas inside the room, portraying the identical view. A number of correspondences are evident here.

Comparion: Les Promenades d'Euclide image

Perhaps most striking is that the shape of the street inside the room seen in receding perspective appears to be an exact correspondence to the conical form of the tower. Yet what the mind sees as analogous is not exactly rendered, as shown by this detail of the ‘corrected’ area in the image on the right.

Thus while an artist like Albrecht Dürer might use a plane of glass as a tool to help him represent the world as if viewed through a window, Magritte has turned the window into a means to ask how we see. Showing us that the mind might draw incorrect conclusions when attempting to organize and order perceived relationships, he shows us how retinal information is a part of a more complex visual mechanism.
Albrecht Dürer Perspective Device, image