Camera Obscura: Drawing tool extraordinaire!

It’s probably apparent that the staff at the Museum & Theatre love the intersection of science and art. Our new exhibit SmartArt demonstrates this along with programs like my Saturday series Where Science Meets Art. Where else in the Museum do we exhibit this interest? Our camera obscura, of course!

Portland Museum of Art as seen through our Camera Obscura

For thousands of years people have used camera obscuras in a variety of applications; early cartographers, magicians, and especially artists. I’m most excited about the artist part. Through dissecting paintings and studying perspective, art historians are close to proving that a camera obscura was used in many of the most remarkable paintings to date. There is a good article found here.

Like anything, reading can teach you a lot, but at the Museum & Theatre, “hands on” is our preference. I’ve started a new program called Perfect Perspective Drawings. After a brief explanation of how our camera obscura works, we’ll jump into making a masterpiece.  By tracing the shadows and shapes on a piece of paper you’ll complete a very accurate representation of Portland’s cityscape.

A Perfect Perspective Drawing!

Some think drawing this way is considered cheating, but we think it’s just genius! So join us to use the camera obscura to create your own Perfect Perspective Drawing at the times listed below.

Thursday, June 17 at 2pm
Tuesday, June 29 at 2pm

Did you know?

For $4 a person the Museum & Theatre offers Camera Obscura tours for the general public. We have a lot of students from photography and college classes take advantage of this deal! If you know someone that may be interested have them call to schedule or just stop by and we’ll do our best to give a guided tour!