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The secrets of perspective of Jan Van Eyck’s paintings unveiled by computer vision

In art history, it is commonly accepted that the Flemish painter Jan Van Eyck knew nothing of the laws of perspective. Gilles Simon, lecturer at the University of Lorraine and researcher at the LORIA computer science laboratory (CNRS, Inria, University of Lorraine), carried out a probabilistic analysis of five paintings of the artist between 1432 and 1439 and revealed that the painter was in fact far ahead of his time thanks to computer vision methods. He used an advanced perspective machine with two degrees of freedom to represent space as closely as possible to human vision. This surprising discovery solves a major enigma of art history and means Jan Van Eyck is the pioneer of techniques such as augmented reality or synthetic holography.

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