Secret Knowledge (New and Expanded Edition): Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters

Secret Knowledge (New and Expanded Edition): Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters

by David Hockney


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Secret Knowledge (New and Expanded Edition): Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters by David Hockney

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142005125
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/05/2006
Edition description: Expanded
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 250,403
Product dimensions: 9.41(w) x 11.80(h) x 1.16(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

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.

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Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm so glad this book is on my shelf. In addition to my fascinating first read, there will be many more times for me to go back and enjoy the beauty, genius, and history that this author provides his reader with this study of Art. It is not often that I feel so indebted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago