Stereopsis and still-life

Difford, R.J. 2008. Stereopsis and still-life. Medical Sciences History. 24, pp. 8-25.

TitleStereopsis and still-life
AuthorsDifford, R.J.
Abstract

Stereopsis, in its simplest terms, is the ability to perceive depth by virtue of binocular vision. This definition, however, does little to pinpoint the nature of the experience. As a vivid and highly tangible cue to solidly and spatial depth, stereopsis can perhaps more usefully be described as a sensation; one which arises out of stereoscopic vision and which is derived from the stimulus patterns formed on the retina. The first clearly articulated account of stereopsis appeared in the mid nineteenth century and its definition in this context is bound inseparably to the invention of the device through which it was investigated. Before the nineteenth-century, the study of space perception had been based primarily on philosophical investigation, but as the nineteenth-century progressed experimental devices and methods, borrowed from the physical sciences, began to be employed in the examination of visual space. By the turn of the century, an experimental approach to the study of vision, explored through the physiology and optics of the eye and through the closely related discipline of psychophysics, would form part of the foundation of what we now know today as psychology. This paper traces the implications of these developments on artistic and representational practices in the nineteenth century and in the burgeoning early twentieth century avant-garde.

KeywordsVisual perception, art history
JournalMedical Sciences History
Journal citation24, pp. 8-25
ISSN1746-8833
Year2008
Publication dates
Published2008

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