Secret Knowledge

Secret Knowledge

4.6 5
by David Hockney
     
 

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, Velázquez, and Van Eyck—were actually created. A chance observation of a…  See more details below

Overview

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, Velázquez, 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.

Author Biography: David Hockney was born in England in 1937 and studied at the Royal College of Art. He achieved internationalacclaim 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.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
"How was this done?" This single question launched world-famous artist David Hockney on a two-year search for answers. Sacrificing easel time, Hockney performed unprecedented research on the actual artistic techniques and procedures of old masters such as Caravaggio, da Vinci, and Velázquez. The results of his findings have surprised experts and outraged museum directors. Secret Knowledge is one of the most exciting art books in decades -- and one of the best detective stories in years.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670030262
Publisher:
Studio
Publication date:
01/28/2001
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
9.80(w) x 12.20(h) x 1.25(d)

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Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
david hockney brings together a group of ideas that together show how western art took on its "photographic" appearance centuries before the camera. to all the complainers who say much is untested - this is the big idea that will take a century to test and research. buy, read and enjoy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author gives us the 'revelation' that many of the Old Masters used projections to make their paintings realistic. This is old news. Artists have used gridlines for years and today use projecions to help make their works. He seems to enjoy showing that the Old Masters use projections for so much of their work. While the author has done much research, he also goes far beyond logical deductions and speculates a great deal. For example: certain paintings have the body proportionately larger than the head. This 'proves' his point. Yet even today portrait artists will do the head and face from life and the rest later. And back in those times clothing was a symbol of status just as it is today, so important men wore big clothes! I would not buy this book. In my opinion it is expensive and does nothing to help you appreciate art.