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David Hockney.

Finds a new perspective on how legendary painters created

Distinguished artist David Hockney has played with space and perspective in his recent work, but his photographic collages were only the prelude to a more dramatic breakthrough. In the forthcoming book Secret Knowledge, Hockney reveals his discovery that artists as early as the 1400s relied on the science of optics.

Scrutinizing five centuries' worth of Western art, Hackney discovered "optical artifacts" in paintings by Holbein, Van Eyck, and Raphael--sudden shifts in perspective, multiple vanishing points, and other effects that wouldn't suggest themselves to an artist's naked eye. "You see distortions and discontinuities in pictures that are difficult to explain unless optics were used," he says.

Constructing a projection apparatus using a concave mirror, Hackney replicated the spatial distortions that have baffled countless observers of these works. Thanks to his insight, one can view centuries-old paintings in a new light.

"The moment you realize that optics were used by artists," Hackney says, "you begin to look at paintings in a new way."
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Title Annotation:artist
Author:E.L.
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 14, 2001
Words:170
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