David Hockney: Secret Knowledge Rediscovering the Lost Techniues of the Old Masters



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I came to this via the film Tim s Vermeer and the excellence of my county libraryWell this is certainly not a book one could ead on a Kindle Hockney works a compelling example of show don t tell though to be fair he does both The book opens with a long section of large format and well No Limits (Brutal Master reproduced pictures of paintings essential to and the foundation of his arguments goes on to a section of select uotes from historical documents about the uses of mirrors and lenses from Roman times onward the uote from Seneca had me giggling in this age of internet porn indeed there is no new thing under the sun and concludes with Hockney s correspondence with va This handsome publication sets down for theecord David Hockney s long and detailed exploration of the techniues and technologies that may have been used by the great masters of European painting He concentrates on the 500 year period from the beginning of the fifteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century In the process one is led to a complete Liar, Liar re evaluation ande appreciation of their workThe journey was not simple or straightforward It began with a close examination of Ingres and a uestioning of the techniues used for certain ualities found in his work Hockney suspected that certain optical devices were necessary for the artist to achieve some of the effects produced By examining the changing styles of the the great masters during this 500 year period Hockney came to the conclusion that the techniues used were kept secret for good easons economic ones for starters but also social ones and the strong presence of mediaeval beliefs that preferred to believe in satanic influence ather than a purely mechanical device dealing with optics meant that being too open about the magical ualities achievable by various types of mirrors and eventually lenses could have dangerous and deadly conseuences Roger Bacon for one suffered by being accused of a non salutary eliance on diabolic contraptions capable of creating magic Hockney began collecting earlier 12th and 13th century texts which from today s perspective are highly suggestive that special optical devices were familiar to those in the know A esult of all these mindsets was that artists effectively emained protective and secretive about. Join one of the most influential artists of our time as he investigates the painting techniues of the Old Masters Hockney’s extensive esearch led him to conclude that artists such as Caravaggio Velázuez da Vinci and other hyperrealists actually used optics and lenses to create their masterpiecesIn this passionate yet pithy book Hockney takes e.

The devices and techniues they might have use for their works This further esulted in later admirers of their works developing the Romantic concept that these artists were solitary geniuses who had the gift and talent to achieve astonishing effects simply through the acuity and accuracy of their visual and manual techniues It is perhaps this latter view that proved most difficult for Hockney to counter People even today feel that using optical devices for effects somehow implies cheating on the part of the artists Hockney takes pains to point out that that this is simply a misunderstanding it still euires wonderful skill and expertise to produce masterpieces the use of optical devices does not make this less of an achievementThe book is presented in three parts The first part consists essentially of exuisitely eproduced paintings and drawings and their details all a joy in themselves The second part is a collection of historical documentation which suggest that special techniues were known to certain people and that they could and were used to great effect The third part of the book presents notes correspondence faxes etc between Hockney and various experts in the fields of art art historians and experts in the field of optics It eads much like a detective story The discovery in particular that a 6 cm concave mirror acts precisely like a lens it projects pictures in the ight light conditions was a break through momentHockney has presented his arguments in this format to show that in his opinion not only did the artists of the day use whatever deceive they could lay their hand on to help them inter endeavours but also that it is obvious when one ealises this fact He also opines that Photography late 19th century and nowadays digital imaging late 20th century will also provide a new lease of life for painting in ways yet to be imaginedThis book makes you look again with enewed insight and excitement into the world of the great European artists one will never again be able to view their works in uite the same way again but this is not to be taken in a negative way far from it we see these wonderful works in anew light that is both evelatory and stimulating Interesting study into some of the techniues of the old masters It turns most. Aders on a journey of discovery as he builds a case that mirrors and lenses were used by the great masters to create their highly detailed and ealistic paintings and drawings Hundreds of the best known and best loved paintings are eproduced alongside his straightforward analysis Hockney also includes his own photographs and drawings to illustrate.

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Of them were probably entrepreneurial than artistic In the early 1400s there is a sudden ise of photo ealism in Flemish painting Hockney posits that this is bc of the use of lenses and mirrors He goes on to explain how medieval artisans essentially embraced automation by obviating the need of sketching the subject they were going to paint In the past this was a painstaking task of eyeballing where the artist would have to employ their best draftsmanship This is one of the most emarkable books I can ecall ever eading about any subject It is so iconoclastic and written with such authority by a person so accomplished as a practitioner in the field he examines that the experience it provides is uniue and the euphoria it induces is ealBeginning with Van Eyck and heading forward through most every painter of note Caravaggio Velazuez and Vermeer most of all they all used optics lenses specifically to accomplish the miracles they created This technology explains the bounding forward that painting did in the Renaissance and afterwards It explains how masters like Caravaggio did what they did with no drawing and Caravaggio s sudden depiction of deep shadows laughing faces and left hand dominant subjects It explains the multiple vanishing points weird bodies and white tablecloths over patterned tablecloths one finds in Velazuez And it explains perhaps best of all the mask and chandelier in Vermeer s Art of PaintingThis book is emarkable for the creative thinking it inspires about optics technology and the creative process itself Researched and written by British artist David Hockney this is a compelling book which explores the how of painting historically Hockney s thesis is that artists particularly those working in the Dutch and Flemish heyday like Van Eyck or Rembrandt were aided by lenses optics and mirrors to help them craft ealistic artworks In this visual essay Hockney proposes that these high tech methods date back hundreds of years further back than the common conception among art historians The book eads as if you stumbled into a college lecture and witnessed an incredibly moving account of history by a person so enthralled by a topic that you couldn t help but feel enthralled tooRecommended for art history and museum going nerds. Techniues used to capture such accurate likenesses Extracts from historical and modern documents and correspondence with experts from around the world further illuminate this thought provoking book that will forever change how the world looks at art Secret Knowledge will open your eyes to how we perceive the world and how we choose to epresent it.

David Hockney was born in Bradford England on July 9 1937 He loved books and was interested in art from an early age admiring Picasso Matisse and Fragonard His parents encouraged their son’s artistic exploration and gave him the freedom to doodle and daydreamHockney attended the Bradford College of Art from 1953 to 1957 Then because he was a conscientious objector to military service h