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The Fine Print

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A quick counter-thought, that "It must have been shocking to see this for the first time in that year, the image so unexpected and mostly not imaginable" is, I think, not quite right. I think they were imaginable. Maps were quite sophisticated by then, and I think they show the ability to put the mind's eye on high, to imagine something from another angle, as surely architecture required, or sculpture perhaps, or astronomy, or

John Ptak

Yes, true--I did give myself a life preserver/parachute by saying "mostly". And I do have a feeling that this is correct, mainly because (unless you are Leonardo) the vast majority of people do not know what things look like when you look at something straight down from a great height. Things are just different. Now people did do a fair amount of artwork for diorama/panoramas (the 300' long kind of thing)depicting a birds-eye view looking straight down to give the attendee to the diorama show an idea of what they were going to see. But their view encompassed something like 50 square miles or something like that--in general--and thus had a different perspective in rendering the scene below. These are magnificent in their own right. Anyway, the view straight down (that was not an architectural plan) is a scarce thing in early 19th c (and before) prints. I think that if it could be imagined by more people we might have seen views like this more often. Or not.

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