A painting's viewpoint is the height from which the viewer and/or painter sees the subject. The viewpoint is crucial as it determines where the horizon line is within the painting. The creation of a consistent and continuous horizon line is fundamental in imbuing a painting with perspective. The artist defines the viewpoint for the viewer and in turn the viewpoint helps shape our conceptualization of the subject matter, for example in dictating the direction or elevation from which we view a scene within a painting. Thus giving precedence to particular areas of a canvas over others.
Also known as a viewer's vantage point into the fictive space; the concept of viewpoint is closely linked to perspective.
|Gustave Courbet's - The Stone breakers 1849|
The viewpoint is level with the scene in the foreground,
the painting has a low perspective which accelerates
our view into the background.