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Proceedings Paper

The science of optics: recent revelations about the history of art
Author(s): David Hockney; Charles M. Falco
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Paper Abstract

We have discovered a variety of types of optical evidence that demonstrate artists as early as Jan van Eyck and Robert Campin (c1425) used optical projections as aids for producing certain elements in their paintings. We also found optical evidence within works by well-known later artists, including Bermejo (c1475), Lotto (c1525), Caravaggio (c1600), de la Tour (c1650), Chardin (c1750) and Ingres (c1825), showing that the use of optical projections by artists continued up to the development of photography and beyond. However, it is important to emphasize this does not mean that paintings are effectively photographs. The mind as well as the hand of the artist is intimately involved in the creation process, so these complex images are much more than simply traced images that have been projected.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 October 2012
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 8480, The Nature of Light: Light in Nature IV, 84800A (11 October 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.956447
Show Author Affiliations
David Hockney, Consultant (United States)
Charles M. Falco, Optical Sciences Ctr., The Univ. of Arizona (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8480:
The Nature of Light: Light in Nature IV
Rongguang Liang, Editor(s)

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