Veronique Plesch’s speech on Mimesis altered the way in which I typically think about art. Mimesis, in art, is imitation — reimagining the physical, external world to reflect different perspectives. Though its scope is broad, Mimesis in the context of nature represents a world imagined, in ways such that perspectives, perceptions, and one’s judgement of realism are questioned or broadened.

As a student interested in urban planning and architecture, I found that Plesch’s demonstration of Mimesis in Renaissance art brought about themes such as optics and the science of perspective that I found inspiring. I found myself awe-stricken by 19th century artists — engineers, geometers, and mathematicians in their own right — creating illusionistic representations of depth that soothe the audiences’ eye without overpowering the viewer with overt linearity or structure. The lines of perspective, praised by the keen artist and appreciated by all viewers, create spaces and images that imitate the structure of the real world. Art has the ability to make viewers believe that space in a painting is real; with unforgiving precision, artists deceive the senses and indulge the viewer with windows into alternate visions of the real world. Mimesis has the unique ability to represent an illusion of reality, through paintings that imitate reality, optics that deceive, and alternate representations of what is real.