Monday, October 23, 2006

David Hockney at the National Portrait Gallery

Went to see David Hockney's Portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery yesterday and enjoyed it very much.

I knew Hockney for his big colurful paintings, whether portraits or landscapes. I wasnt aware he was also a master of simple drawings and photography.

Sketching to him is an extension of seeing, and he seems to be sketching constantly. He is obsessed with the idea of seeing and representing. I didnt know he had such a fascination for Picasso either, and with the history of art in general. I really want to read his book: Secret Knowledge, Rediscovering the Techniques of the Old Masters.

Amazon says: This book is the fruit of his practical and historical investigation into how artists from the 15th century onward produced such vividly realistic drawings and paintings. Hockney's conclusions are simple but devastating. He argues that, "from the early 15th century many Western artists used optics--by which I mean mirrors and lenses (or a combination of the two)--to create living projections". The results are extraordinary. Secret Knowledge carefully explains how Masaccio, Van Eyck, Holbein, Caravaggio, Vermeer and Ingres all used optical aids, as it carefully takes apart the paintings and recreates the instruments and techniques used by artists from as early as the 1430s.

Interesting no?