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David Hockney: Secret Knowledge (2003)

TV Movie  -  Documentary  -  March 2003 (Canada)
7.8
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Artist David Hockney discusses his theory that artists were secretly using optical devices such as mirrors and lenses in creating their work as early as the 15th century. Examples from ... See full summary »

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Title: David Hockney: Secret Knowledge (TV Movie 2003)

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In a series of authored films, some of our most engaging experts reveal their favourite hidden objects, forgotten places and artistic passions.

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Artist David Hockney discusses his theory that artists were secretly using optical devices such as mirrors and lenses in creating their work as early as the 15th century. Examples from Flemish and Italian art are studied as he examines how famous paintings have had their noted mysteries newly solved; he also makes comparisons to modern film and digital imagery. Written by scgary66

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March 2003 (Canada)  »

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Catch it if you can; otherwise look at the book
3 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Hockney's thesis is that from the Renaissance to the 1850's the dominant styles in painting depended on secret use of lenses to project images from three dimensional scenes onto flat surfaces such as walls. The artist would then trace the two-dimensional projection and fill it in later with paint. He points to areas in paintings that are blurry, in just the places where painters would have had to change the focus to get details from closer objects.In other words, they used simple cameras.

Hockney's style is engaging and persuasive. He also wrote a book with the same title which is more accessible. The video is not readily available, except in a few university libraries. It costs $150 to purchase from BBC films! The main reason to see the video, rather than read the book, is that the moving video camera yields a three dimensional effect much easier to take in than in the book.


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