The Da Vinci Notebooks at sacred-texts.com
A diminished object should be seen from the same distance, height and direction as the point of sight of your eye, or else your knowledge will produce no good effect.
And if you will not, or cannot, act on this principle--because as the plane on which you paint is to be seen by several persons you would need several points of sight which would make it look discordant and wrong--place yourself at a distance of at least 10 times the size of the objects.
The lesser fault you can fall into then, will be that of representing all the objects in the foreground of their proper size, and on whichever side you are standing the objects thus seen will diminish themselves while the spaces between them will have no definite ratio. For, if you place yourself in the middle of a straight row [of objects], and look at several columns arranged in a line you will see, beyond a few columns separated by intervals, that the columns touch; and beyond where they touch they cover each other, till the last column projects but very little beyond the last but one. Thus the spaces between the
columns are by degrees entirely lost. So, if your method of perspective is good, it will produce the same effect; this effect results from standing near the line in which the columns are placed. This method is not satisfactory unless the objects seen are viewed from a small hole, in the middle of which is your point of sight; but if you proceed thus your work will be perfect and will deceive the beholder, who will see the columns as they are here figured.
Here the eye is in the middle, at the point a and near to the columns.
273:257 : The diagram which stands above this chapter in the original with the note belonging to it: "a b e la ripruova" (a b is the proof) has obviously no connection with the text. The second sketch alone is reproduced and stands in the original between lines 22 and 23.