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Secret knowledge : rediscovering the lost techniques of the old masters by David Hockney

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New York : Viking studio, 2001. Hardcover. 296 pages ; illustrated ; 30 cm. A nice clean copy with unmarked pages and firm binding.


Secret knowledge ; rediscovering the lost techniques of the old masters by David Hockney

Come with David Hockney on an enthralling journey as he rewrites the story of how the masterpieces of Western art were created.

It was after a chance observation in London's National Gallery that Hockney became gripped by a desire to find out how the artists of the past managed to depict the world so accurately and vividly. As a painter constantly faced with similar technical problems, he asked himself: "How did they do this?" He set aside his brushes, stopped painting and, for the next two years, sacrificed his own time as an artist to follow this mystery trail, obsessively tracking down the hidden secrets of the Old Masters. As news of his investigations spread, his sensational discoveries became the subject of headlines, media attention and debate among prominent scientists, art historians, and museum directors worldwide.

NOW, for the first time, H6ckney recounts the story of his quest as it unfolded. He explains how he uncovered piece after piece of scientific and visual evidence, each one yielding further revelations about the past. With the benefit of his painter's eye, he examines the major works of art history and unveils the truth of how artists such as Caravaggio, Velazquez, van Eyck, Holbein, Leonardo and Ingres used mirrors and lenses to help them create their famous masterpieces.

Hundreds of paintings and drawings—among them the best known and best-loved works in the history of Western art—are reproduced and accompanied by
Hockney's close, passionate and accessible descriptions, His own photographs and drawings illustrate the various methods used by past artists to capture accurate likenesses and present the results they would have achieved.-ln addition, extracts From the many historical and modern documents that he uncovered offer further intriguing evidence while correspondence between him and an array of international experts provides an exciting account of the remarkable story as it happened.

Secret Knowledge is not just about the lost techniques of the Old Masters. It is also about now and the future It is about how we see, treat and make images today, in an age of computer manipulation. Constantly seeking, taking nothing for granted, questioning received ideas and practice, Hockney opens one's eyes to the way we perceive and represent the world. Secret Knowledge offers a privileged insight into the history of art by an outstandingly prolific and original artist.

DAVID HOCKNEY is among the most critically acclaimed artists of our times. He has produced influential and innovative work in almost every medium—painting, drawing, stage design, photography, and printmaking.