Synopses & Reviews
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.
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.
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.
About the Author
David Hockney was born in England in 1937 and studied at the Royal College of Art. He achieved international acclaim by his mid-twenties as part of the pop art movement and has gone on to become one of the best known artists of his generation.