Art: Bierstadt’s Yosemite Valley, Vermeer’s The Music Lesson, and Vermeer’s The Concert

Take a look at Bierstadt’s Yosemite Valley, Vermeer’s The Music Lesson, and Vermeer’s The Concert. These paintings achieve a convincing kind of visual realism. How do these artists achieve this degree of realism? Here you will want to discuss the use of various pictorial depth and structure cues or rules—this should be the longest part of your paper. Sometimes the degree of visual realism achieved by artists is equated with the degree of “illusionism”—the degree to which the eye is fooled into thinking a real scene is present. Do you think that this is an appropriate way to characterize the kind of visual realism achieved in these paintings? (Here you will likely want to say something about the effects of nonpictorial depth and structure cues on picture perception—perhaps focusing on motion parallax.)

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