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Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters

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Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters Cover

ISBN13: 9780142005125
ISBN10: 0142005126
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Recently, David Hockney, often described as the world's most popular artist, has made headlines not with his own work but with his sensational and controversial theories about how some of Western art's famous masterpieces — paintings by artists such as da Vinci, Caravaggio, Velazquez, and Van Eyck — were actually created. A chance observation of a drawing in London's National Gallery led Hockney to ask, How was this done? His answer led to fascinating insights into the history of art: that many of the world's most revered artists used mirrors and various optical devices — such as the camera obscura — to project images onto their canvasses and then traced the scenes. Hockney's radical speculations have prompted both astonishment and outrage from prominent art historians and museum directors worldwide. The debate aside, Secret Knowledge offers readers the exhilarating opportunity to see the Old Masters afresh — through the eyes of a living master.

In Secret Knowledge, hundreds of paintings are reproduced in stunning color plates, and many are discussed in close and accessible detail. Hockney's own drawings and photographs illustrate how artists would have used the technology available to them in rendering their subjects. Extracts from historical and modern documents provide further evidence while correspondence between Hockney and an impressive array of international art historians, curators, and scientists details both the evolution of his theory and the furor that has erupted over it.

Synopsis:

Taking a look at the techniques of the Old Masters, hundreds of paintings are reproduced to show how artists would have used the technology available to them in rendering their subjects. 400 color illustrations.

Synopsis:

Join one of the most influential artists of our time as he investigates the painting techniques of the Old Masters. Hockney’s extensive research led him to conclude that artists such as Caravaggio, Velázquez, da Vinci, and other hyperrealists actually used optics and lenses to create their masterpieces.

In this passionate yet pithy book, Hockney takes readers 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 realistic paintings and drawings. Hundreds of the best-known and best-loved paintings are reproduced alongside his straightforward analysis. Hockney also includes his own photographs and drawings to illustrate techniques 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 represent it.

About the Author

When looking at pictures, one can have no more stimulating and provocative companion than Hockney. (The Times Literary Supplement, London)

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Grady Harp, December 13, 2006 (view all comments by Grady Harp)
'A portrait is a painting with something wrong with the mouth' John Singer Sargent

Reaction to David Hockney's original book SECRET KNOWLEDGE published in 2001 stirred a lot of controversy from artists, art historians, art collectors, and students: the responses ranged from resounding Bravos! to a clangorous 'Humbugs!' Now Hockney has produced a second expanded volume, partially in response to that outbreak of slander and partially to fill the voids left by his first set of observations. This newly expanded version retains the luxury of copious images of paintings from the early 15th century to the present and adds to that a fascinating series of historical quotations from across the centuries to support his theory. In other words, the book is still controversial - but now it is backed by researched documents from ancient and contemporary scholars.His theory? Simply that artists from those following Giotto to the present used optics as a tool to create images. Hockney does not disparage this 'manipulation' as a foil to famous artists' integrity or talent: quite the opposite - he lauds the artists who had the intelligence to make use of yet another tool (like paint brushes, charcoal, paper, easels, etc) to hone their skills. Hockney gently and with respect explores the use of the camera obscura and camera lucida along with the use of concave and convex mirrors and lenses, offering the reader not only his ideas on the subject but also splendid examples of how the discovery of optics changed the quality of painting over a mere tow or three years of usage time with such luminaries as Velasquez and Caravaggio!Whether or not the reader elects to accept Hockney's premise of the importance of optics in the development of art history will not prevent enjoying the fascinating excursion this well designed and produced book offers. Hockney intermingles his own portraits meticulously created with the use of the camera lucida to demonstrate how this technique was in no way a sign of laziness or 'copying' of a projected image on the part of the artists he discusses. Quite the contrary. By utilizing these techniques and sharing the inherent difficulties the use of optics creates in the technical aspects of painting and drawing he is able to speak with authority about his thesis.Hockney's joy (which continues to this day) is exploring the 'How did they do that?' response to painting, not unlike the way most of us approach a canvas and as 'What does it mean?'. It is this kind of intellectual searching that makes this book such a treasure - that, and the fact that here is yet another superb art history book that the reader will actually READ instead of just perusing the pictures. Highly recommended on many levels.
Grady Harp
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780142005125
Author:
Hockney, David
Publisher:
Penguin Putnam
Subject:
History - General
Subject:
Criticism
Subject:
Techniques - General
Subject:
Techniques - Painting
Subject:
History : General
Subject:
Painting
Subject:
History
Subject:
Criticism -- Theory.
Subject:
Painting -- Technique -- History.
Subject:
Drawing - Technique - History
Subject:
Art-Theory and Criticism
Edition Description:
Expanded
Publication Date:
20061031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
11.78x9.44x.99 in. 4.02 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » Artists
Arts and Entertainment » Art » History and Criticism
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Miscellaneous Techniques
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Technique
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Theory and Criticism

Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters New Trade Paper
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Product details 336 pages Penguin Putnam - English 9780142005125 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Taking a look at the techniques of the Old Masters, hundreds of paintings are reproduced to show how artists would have used the technology available to them in rendering their subjects. 400 color illustrations.

"Synopsis" by ,
Join one of the most influential artists of our time as he investigates the painting techniques of the Old Masters. Hockney’s extensive research led him to conclude that artists such as Caravaggio, Velázquez, da Vinci, and other hyperrealists actually used optics and lenses to create their masterpieces.

In this passionate yet pithy book, Hockney takes readers 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 realistic paintings and drawings. Hundreds of the best-known and best-loved paintings are reproduced alongside his straightforward analysis. Hockney also includes his own photographs and drawings to illustrate techniques 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 represent it.

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