In Western art the way to depict a city from the height of a bird flight since the first half of the 15th century has long been the only way to create a relatively accurate and objective picture of cities. In the 16th century there appeared analytical methods for building a wide perspective of views from a bird flight. Since the 19th century “views from above” were shot by a camera-obscura from balloons. In the 20th century, such images were replaced by aerial photography, which performs both documentary and artistic tasks.
When creating a bird’s eye view of a city, contemporary artists ignore the problem of topographic precision even if they portray a particular city, like New York (Wols) or Rome (D. Notargiacomo). The main thing is the desire to express emotional, personal attitude to the city. So, in G. Richter’s and T. Beyrle’s canvases metropolis appears as something endless, repetitive. Wols, F. Hundertwasser and D. Notargiacomo show it as a complex organic form, concentrated life energy of everything that the city consists of. In many cases we can notice the movement towards the language of abstraction.