1 : a point at which receding parallel lines seem to meet when represented in linear perspective
2 : a point at which something disappears or ceases to exist —Merriam Webster Dictionary
A vanishing point is a point on the image plane of a perspective drawing where the two-dimensional perspective projections (or drawings) of mutually parallel lines in three-dimensional space appear to converge. —Wikipedia
Mary Berry, an English non-fiction writer, arrived in Paris on Sunday, March 14, 1802. At 1:00 p.m. the next day, she went to the Louvre. “To give any idea of this gallery is quite impossible,” she wrote.
“You ascend to it (at present) by a commodious plain staircase, and first enter a large square room [the Salon Carré] … lined with all the finest Italian pictures, very well placed as to light. Out of this room you enter a gallery [the Grande Galerie]—such a gallery. But such a gallery!!! As the world never before saw, both as to size and furniture! So long that the perspective ends almost in a point [emphasis mine], and so furnished that at every step, tho’ one feels one must go on, yet one’s attention is arrested by all the finest pictures that one has seen before in every other country, besides a thousand new ones.”
If I want to impress someone when I visit a museum, I will mention the vanishing point in a painting. I will choose a painting with a single vanishing point, maybe one with two, and they are often obvious, and ask, “Have you noticed that this artist has used a single point to focus the elements in the painting?” (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
Once I did that while visiting a photography exhibit in southern France. A camera crew happened to be there. As I pointed to this and that in the photo, talking away, and without knowing, I was being filmed. When I looked up and back, I saw what was occurring and someone with the camera crew beckoned me to continue. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!