camera obscura

Discipline: Art

(15th century)

A mechanical aid for drawing from nature, consisting of lenses and mirrors arranged in a darkened tent. A mirror fixed at an angle of 45° reflects the view through a double convex lens onto a sheet of paper placed at the focus of the lens.

Its invention is associated with the Italian architect and theorist LEON BATTISTA ALBERTI (1404-1472). It was taken up by 18th-century vedutisti ('view painters') such as ANTONIO CANALETTO (1697-1768), and was employed by THOMAS WEDGWOOD c.1794 in early photographic processes.


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