HAD IT BEFALLEN Giotto, or even Clouet, to travel round the world, all the paintings they set eyes on would have seemed of a more or less familiar order. Nor would they have had much trouble in establishing communication with Chinese or Persian fellow-artists. For all approached their task of representing the thing seen, in the same way, and dealt with the same set of problems.
Had Rubens or Delacroix made the same journey, all the paintings they set eyes on would have struck them as archaic; similarly their own works would have bewildered the non-European painters. For their methods of representation differed from those of the Asiatics. Chinese and Persian artists were ignorant of, or disdained, depth, perspective, lighting and expression. Europe had come to differ from the rest of the world in its idea of the function of painting. And, after the close of the baroque period, there was this fundamental cleavage between Western and all other arts, past and present: that the former devoted its researches to a three-dimensional world.
There were several reasons for this, which I shall deal with elsewhere.1 Christianity had imported into a world that had known little else than representation of a more or less subtly symbolical nature,____________________