The Origin of Perspective
In part a response to Panofsky's Perspective as Symbolic Form, The Origin of Perspective is much more. In France it is considered one of the most important works of art history to have appeared in the last twenty years. With the exception of Michel Foucault's analysis of Las Meninas, it is perhaps the first time a structuralist method such as the one developed by Claude Lé©-Strauss in The Way of the Masks has been thoroughly and convincingly applied to Western art. The task Damisch has set for himself is to refute both the positivist critics, whose approach makes up the bulk of perspective studies and is based on a complete repression of Panofsky's early work, and the current pseudo-avant-gardist position (whether in the field of cinema studies or in literary criticism), which tends to disregard facts and theoretical analysis. Damisch argues that if a theoretical analysis of perspective is possible, using all the tools of structuralist semiotics, it is only possible in the context of a close look at its appearance in history, beginning with the details of the "invention" of perspective.