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Sharp straight lines create linear perspective dominated by a rotunda in the painting Ideal City (c. 1470), attributed to Italian Renaissance painter Piero della Francesca. Symmetrical blocks of buildings border the frame of the painting. Patterned pavement in the foreground augments the perspective. Rare vines are seen on several facades. No person is seen.

Francesca's Ideal City was praised for its perfect linearity and orderliness and shunned for its perfect sterility and emptiness. The apparent contradiction between Francesca's idealized orderly vision and the common image of the city as a bustling, lively, messy entity reveals the crucial problem embedded in the notion of ideal city: What is ideal according to a set of standards and logical statements may turn out to be not at all acceptable ...

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