Alberti, lhe perspective of "construzione leggitima"
Da Vinci is of course the first name to come in mind. But he carefully separated his artistic activities, notably painting, from his mechanical ideas, then we cannot consider him properly a digital artist. Nevertheless, he has inspired the Da Vinci Code novel of Dan Brown, and an artistic game application by Nicolas Clauss and Jean-Jacques Birgé (see our note).
Writing: Literature and text
Materially, the movable characters and the efficient press of Gutenberg (and some others at that time) increase sensibly the productivity of printing and the reliability of the copies. The material fragmentation of the text into characters so contributes to the growth of a production now more digital.
Texts take a new autonomy with the protestant principe of "free examination", notably of the Bible. So, text is freed from its depedence to religious authority, and enhances its independent value.
Music storing progression in polyphony, from archaic to classico for choirs and for ochestra (Faust)
Music notation keeps progressin regularly, and, according to [Lehmann], it is this kind of scoring the music that allows the development choral polyphony and more generally of of composition. We can draw a parallel with the later progresses of mathematics due to language innovations by Descartes and Leibniz. (see Michel Serfati, La révolution symbolique - La constitution de l'écriture symbolique mathématique. Petra 2005).
Mathematical tools in composition appear with harmony and, newer, the counterpoint. The idea is at least as old as 1532, when Giovanni Maria Lanfranco described a similar concept in his Scintille di musica (Brescia, 1533). See Wikipedia
Painting remains in the representational model.
Images also make use of the printing press. Dürer, notably plays deliberately this game at high level (one could compare him to Karajan playing the CD media). That goes with a fragmentation inside the creation process. The direct relation between the author (writer, painter) and the work is now cut, and replaced by a series of steps, with an intermediary "original" (lead types, metal etching), used by an ulterior reproduction process (the press). That anticipates the views of Walter Benjamin.
Numbers and geometrical considerations play a major role in painting. Some mathematical modelling is used (see mathematics). Ch. Funck-Hellet reviews them Composition et nombre d’or dans les oeuvres peintes de la Renaissance. Proportion, symétrie, symbolisme. (Editions Vincent Réal, Paris 1950). We give here online (in French) the full text of its summary list.
About this period : Les instruments d'optique à l'aide des grands maîtres. by Jean-François Revel. Connaissance des arts, Aug. 1961.
Dürer : the portillon
Antiquity did know some perspective systems, without using the word [Panofskky,
1975]. But Renaissance, eager to give objective representations of the
World, gives rigorous formalisms to get there : :
- a conceptual processus, with a geometric modelling of space ; Alberti. and his « construzione leggitima » is the most famous contributor;
- a technologiqcal physical process, with for instance the « portillon » of Albert Dürer.
Gianbattista Bracelli , at the end of the period, is a forerunner of cubism and geometrical analysis.
Les Algoristes, an association of artists using their own algorithms in their work.