Hockney's claims

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Hockney's claims

From Fred Ross

Published before 2005


Piet Spijkers: And, I think, [Hockney] put an interesting question on the table. What happened there in 1430 and afterwards when at once very good drawings and paintings were made. It still remains a good question.

Brian Yoder: I think that's a very interesting question and one that I think there are many good answers for. Many of these guys left notebooks of their discoveries behind that we can examine today. We also know about political changes that were going on that allowed more people more education in fields wider than just theology, and more freedom to create art works that were for purposes other than decorating churches. The same dramatic improvements we see in art of that era came about in just about every aspect of life from politics and banking to mathematics and medicine. It should come as no surprise that painting also flourished in that era, though teasing apart the various influences and practices is a worthy exercise and one someone could spend a lifetime studying.

Actually, there are people who have spent lifetimes studying this, Brian, and there are countless scholarly works that describe what happened.

Hockney had to deliberately ignore them all without comment in order to proffer his “secret knowledge” theory.

Frankly, there are breakthroughs in every field that, once invented, impact everything that was created subsequently.

We might say that indoor plumbing altered all architecture subsequent to its invention, much the same way that Dürer’s discovery of one- and two-point perspective, once out of the bag, enabled every generation that came after to compose more believable paintings.

It’s not such a big mystery. In fact if you look at paintings of landscapes and townscapes from before the 16th century, they are taken from a perspective as if the artist was sitting on a flag pole looking down from a height of 20 feet, whereas subsequent to full understanding of perspective all such townscapes especially, but landscapes as well, are painted based on the artist standing in the scene taken at eye level of about 5 to 6 feet high.

I don’t know exactly when the visualizing concept, sight-size, first was invented, but it’s safe to say that it too would have altered to tools and therefore the results available to all subsequent generation of artists after its discovery and implementation into the contemporary and subsequent systems of education of artists.

Fred