Did Leonardo invent 3-D ?


The Daily Mail says ….


and the Huffington Post says …


because some German researchers say …


…..THAT LEONARDO DA VINCI MAY HAVE DISCOVERED 3-D – Three hundred years before Wheatstone.

Mona Lisa

This is not a new idea … and I’m afraid I disagree. The theory just doesn’t hold water.

A few years ago, I spent quite a few hours measuring the supposed parallax differences between the two versions of this painting.

By my reckoning, they all add up to zero. And I’m afraid claims that Leonardo cracked the theory of stereopsis all add up to zero too.

Why ?

If Leonardo had known about stereopsis, and understood it, like Charles Wheatstone eventually did from 1832 onwards …

(a) he would have written about the fact. He didn’t. He wrote copiously about everything he discovered, including lots of stuff about eyes. Not about parallax differences creating an impression of depth in our brains

(b) In these two paintings, if he’d intended them to be an exposition of ‘3-D’ content, you can be sure he would have made a great job if it. The parallax differences would always increase for objects closer to the ‘viewer’. They don’t. The face is the real give-away. It’s not by any stretch of the imagination stereoscopic. Can we really imagine he’d get this wrong, if he understood parallax ? The horizontal discrepancies are random, and so are the vertical discrepancies, and the latter would NOT be admissible if the pictures were designed to be a stereo pair.

(c) Wouldn’t you think he’d have pointed out that this is what he was doing with these particular paintings, if this idea was in his mind ? ? ! And directed people to view the paintings as a pair ?

(d) In any case that was impossible at the time, way before photography, which now can bring images together. These two paintings were never seen in the same city.

Sorry. Like everyone else, I’d love to discover that the fabulous Leonardo discovered 3-D.


Tell you what, though … check our Salvador Dali’s 3-D paintings !! Brilliant ! But they are post-Wheatstone !!

Thanks Carleen.


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