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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2006
It's a lavishly photographed and produced work of art - My copy is the hardback and I assume the paperback is the same but it has wonderful gatefolds and details of works of art. David Hockney's commentary and exploration is fascinating as he explores the tools the Renaissance artists used. A wonderful book to give to anyone who is interested in art - whether in a practical way or in terms of history.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 14 October 2001
This book outlines the discovery by David Hockney of how the 'overnight' invention of perspective was not that, but the clever use of a concave mirror to project a perfect image onto a canvas and to trace and/paint that image. At first a mirror was used as the quality of glass needed for a lens was not available, and this led to the pictures being about 30cm square. With the development of glass, lenses became available and pictures could be larger.
It is a remarkable discovery of the use of a technique which can be traced by looking at the development of art.
Excellent book.
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on 29 January 2011
I was so intrigued reading this book that it only took a couple of days to read and this was fast for me! The research into the techniques and the clues in the paintings (as to using mirrors or lenses) of the old masters was fascinating. I would have loved to have seen more of other aids, old and new, and then these compared to drawing from the heart (I prefer this to eyeballing as D.H. refers to) which, for some, would be too slow in comparison. It is a book of the methods of the old masters however and not todays, which is another book in itself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2011
What a glorious read A fantastic insight into the mind of a current master as well as 'old' masters. Stunning, quality images throughout a hefty book.
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on 2 September 2009
A fascinating glimpse into the world of the Old Masters. Hockney presents in depth evidence and analysis to support his claims and it is balanced by the responses of other respected experts in the field. For artists and art historians this is a very useful reference giving a fresh approach to analysing the paintings.Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the lost techniques of the Old Masters
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on 2 September 2013
This is a great example of how an artist sees famous art of his former fellow artists. He explains the mistakes in optics and how
it was made that way. Also the Timeline shows the connection between art and photography. I think only the under title “Rediscovering the lost techniques of the Old Masters” not true as it is not about media used. Art history should take notice.
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on 9 January 2015
What a great and informative book. I came to painting a bit later on and didn't study art history. This book doesn't only provide you with an insight into what was almost certainly early use of projection assisted painting but also there's quite a lot of interesting art history in it too. I liked it so much I bought one for my art teacher for Christmas.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 18 April 2007
This is a fascinating book. David Hockney will point out an odd proportion in a painting (all paintings etc are nicely illustrated)and explain how this, in his opinion, resulted from use of the camera obscura. I will have seen the painting in illustrations before, and even noticed the odd proportion before, but never wondered why a consummate painter would make such a silly mistake - a woman's arm that would hang past her knees, for example. But you read this book and the Light Bulb goes on - EUREKA! - that's how he'd paint something this goofy! Now, I do want to say that Hockney's explanation is not appreciated by many in the "art" world. The most strident critics are speaking largely from ego. The most reasonable will point out that a portrait painter would usually paint only the face "in person". The rest was painted from memory, sketches and written descriptions and this could lead to mistakes. However, the abundance of examples Hockney brings to the table, and the historical evidence showing that a camera obscura could have been available to the painters, leads me to side with David Hockney. This is a great read.
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on 28 February 2013
Hockney does an excellent job of describing how artists from the Rennaisance to the advent of photography used lenses, mirros and (non-recording) cameras to make their paintings more realistic.
The illustrations are superb, and make a great contribution to the author's case.
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on 20 October 2013
Seller had even underrated the actual condition of the book, it was actually perfect. Great reading for every art lover, and real fun. A first and unique (almost) case of a "detective story" in the domain of painting. Mind teasing and exciting.
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