A Treatise on Painting, by Leonardo da Vinci
Senex and Taylor, London
The Faults in little Figures, are not so easily discerned as those in larger; the Reason of which is, that the extreme Diminution of the Parts of little Figures, does not allow us to examine strictly into their Proportion: So that 'tis impossible to determin wherein those Parts are defective. For instance, if you look at a Man Three hundred Paces distant from you, with Design to examine the Features of his Face, and to observe whether he be handsome or deformed or of ordinary Appearance; you will find that with how much Earnestness and Attention soever you view him, 'twill be impossible for you to discover to which Class he belongs: The Reason of which, is without doubt owing to the apparent Diminution of the Parts of the Object, occasioned by its great Distance from the Eye. If you doubt whether Distance diminishes Objects, you may be easily convinced by the following Experiment; hold your Hand at some distance from your Face, in such manner, as that pointing up a Finger, the Tip of it may correspond to the Top of the same Persons Head, whom you were before observing; and you will find that your Finger does not only cover his Face, length-wise, but likewise a considerable part of his Body; an evident Proof of the apparent Diminution of the Object!