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The Cover
December 23 2009

The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin

JAMA. 2009;302(24):2632. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1676

In the year 1413 Filippo Brunelleschi, a Florentine architect, discovered a new method for conveying a sense of depth in paintings of rooms and buildings by using a geometric system: linear perspective. In linear perspective, lines that in reality are parallel, such as the edges of a tiled floor, appear to converge at an imaginary point on the horizon: the vanishing point. Brunelleschi's discovery was one of the great innovations of the era of western civilization known as the Renaissance, which was also characterized by a new sense of man's place in God's world. The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin (cover ), which was painted about the year 1435, is remarkable for its sense of depth and for its implication that human achievements have value and are not in conflict with the service of God.

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