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Poussin and Optics: Reflections on the Lake in “a Calm”

Janis Bell    Independent Scholar    



Poussin’s biographers emphasised the importance of his study of optics and, particularly, of his study of Zaccolini’s treatises. Through a close examination of the reflections on the surface of the lake in Landscape with a Calm, we will show how Poussin’s mastery of catoptrics (the science of mirrors) guides the viewers’ experience and provides a key to the function of the lake as the central focus of the picture.

Keywords: Poussin. Zaccolini. Light and shadow. Optics. Landscape. Seicento painting.

Lingua: en

Submitted: 03 Luglio 2020
Accepted: 24 Settembre 2020
Pubblicato: 11 Dicembre 2020

permalink: http://doi.org/10.30687/VA/2385-2720/2020/01/003

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License