The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft [Anne Friedberg] on * FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Honorable Mention, Katherine. Explorations in Film Theory, Close Up: Cinema And. Modernism, Cinema and Technology, The Emergence of Cinematic Time. The Virtual Window: From Alberti. In The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft (, MIT Press), (the late) Anne Friedberg traces the history of the relationship between the.

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From the Renaissance idea of the painting as an open window to the nested windows and multiple images on today’s cinema, television, and computer screens: In The Virtual WindowAnne Friedberg examines the window as metaphor, as architectural component, and as an opening to the dematerialized reality we see on the screen. In De picturaLeon Battista Alberti famously instructed painters to consider the frame of the painting as an open window. Taking Alberti’s metaphor as her starting point, Friedberg tracks shifts in the perspectival paradigm as she gives us histories of the architectural window, developments in glass and transparency, and the emerging apparatuses of photography, cinema, television, and digital imaging.

And yet, notes Friedberg, for most of the twentieth century the dominant form of the moving image was a single image in a single frame.

The fractured modernism exemplified by cubist painting, for example, remained largely confined to experimental, avant-garde work. On the computer screen, however, where multiple ‘windows’ coexist and overlap, perspective may have met its end.

In this wide-ranging book, Friedberg considers such topics as the framed view of the camera obscura, Le Corbusier’s mandates for the architectural window, Eisenstein’s opinions on the shape of the movie screen, and the multiple images and nested windows commonly displayed on screens today.

The Virtual Window proposes a new logic of visuality, framed and virtual: This is an enthralling account of the theory and practice of using windows and screens as a visual metaphor.

The digital revolution has globalized a word and a nation that Leon Battista Alberti first translated from the realm of building to that of representation in From linear perspective to moving pictures to split screens, from see-through to light-receiving and light-emitting devices, Friedberg brilliantly demonstrates that the virtual window has been the most successful single tool for mimesis, command, and control in the history of Western civilization. Unlike most theorists of digital culture, Anne Friedberg brings a deeply historical perspective to the visual metaphors of our wired world.


The Virtual Window charts transformations in visual knowledge leading from Renaissance perspective to today’s computer desktops by tracking shifts in the physical and philosophical meaning of ‘windows. The Virtual Window is, quite simply, brilliant. Even as Friedberg employs an interdisciplinary historical sweep that most scholars would be incapable of, she offers grounded and very tightly focused discussions of specific theories and visual practices related to the use of windows and screens from the Renaissance to the age of new media.

Review of The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft : Projections

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Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Perspective as Symbolic Form Zone Books. What Do Pictures Want?: The Lives and Loves of Images. Review This is an enthralling account of the theory and practice of using windows and screens as a visual metaphor.

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Our eyes and sight, our consciousness and thoughts, our inquisitiveness and knowledge Without these windows, would we be capable of focusing upon either the broadness or the fine granularity, the details, of everyday life?

Friedberg prods our underlying assumptions and taken-for-granted awareness of what it is to be alive. Although I have yet to completely read this book, I have read a few chapters and am finding it very interesting and easier to read than a lot of the assignments for Space and Representation Art History class. It works as a great survey text, the introduction lays out exactly what she will be covering and it progresses in a logical manner.

Friedberg’s analysis of Alberti’s window were particularly intriguing. I recommend this for anyone interested in the development of space and virtuality. Great reference for those interested in art, technology and history.


Refreshing new ideas, Brilliant amazing book! The movie screen, the TV screen, and the computer screen have become part of our everyday experience – substitutes for the architectural window that frames a view, and for the frame around a painting. But only in the last two decades have multiple screens become familiar. Typically film and TV both display a single frame on a single screen, despite other possibilities.

What does it mean to “frame” an idea or experience using the new digital technologies? How does it change our “perspective”? Anne Friedberg takes up these issues with extraordinary theoretical sophistication and an impressive knowledge of history.

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Review of The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft

Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Set up a windod. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Chase Virtual Window – For rooms that have no real window. Turns that small high basement window into a full size window.

Review: Anne Friedberg’s “The Virtual Window”

For use during remodel construction. From Illusion to Immersion Leonardo. Journeys in Art, Architecture, and Film.

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Last modified: August 13, 2020