Thinking Spaces

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Space is an idea, the word given to fill the emptiness around us.

The way this emptiness is rendered by ‘space’ is one of the most important correlations between what we actually see and what we perceive it as.

Space plays a key role in any kind of artwork or painting,the two main ones being either by drawing us further into depths of the three dimensional world it portrays through its flat surfaces, or by drawing our attention to a particular element.

The example of Camera Degli Sposi from the Palazzo Ducale Mantova, is a fitting one to conceive the understanding of space. The work is painted at the ceiling of the palace, which highlights the importance of the space in which the artwork is displayed. The position of the painting creates an illusion to the viewer from down, further enhancing its impact. The prime shape of the circle forces the viewers’ eyes to focus towards the area with the lack of characters, towards the blue sky. This simple vacancy perfectly fits the bodiless characters’ positions around the circle, giving the illusion of a well or some sort of hole. The baby cherubs along the corners of the circle give the viewer an estimate of the height of the circular protrusion, further adding materiality to the painting. The proportion of the amount of space contributed to the characters versus to the sky too helps the viewer imagine the vastness of the sky, making the viewer himself feel smaller.

By manipulating space the artwork manages to not only define its own dimensions but also the viewers’ own coordinates.

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