Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters

British painter David Hockney, well known for his cool and lovely paintings of California pools, has taken on the new role of detective. For two years Hockney seriously investigated the painting techniques of the old masters, and like any admirable sleuth, compiled substantial evidence to support his revolutionary theory. Secret Knowledge is the fruit of this labor, an exhaustive treatise in pictures revealing clues that some of the world's most famous painters, Ingres, Velázquez, Caravaggio (just to mention a few) utilized optics and lenses in creating their masterpieces. Hockney's fascination with the subject is contagious, and the book feels almost like a game with each analysis a "How'd they do that?" instead of a whodunit. While some may find the technical revelation a disappointment in terms of the idea of genius, Hockney is quick to point out that the use of optics does not diminish the immensity of artistic achievement. He reminds the reader that a tool is just a tool, and it is still the artist's hand and creative vision that produce a work of art.




Brandt : The Photography of Bill Brandt

Bill Brandt, one of the most prolific 20th-century photographers, is beautifully represented by this volume, which contains nearly 400 of his black-and-white photographs. These range from his famous, starkly disturbing portraits of the denizens of either end of the social ladder to his late, poetic landscapes and cool, studied, abstract nudes. In between are several series that contain singular images of great familiarity, such as his portrait of painter Francis Bacon in an eerie, lamp-lit landscape, or the one of two housemaids in starched white caps standing at attention behind an upper-crust dining-room table. Brandt's passionate interest in the shocking juxtaposition of the very rich and the very poor brought him a wide audience as well as accusations of being a Socialist propagandist. During the Great Depression, Brandt traveled to the north of England and made some of the most devastating pictures of his career, exposing the extreme poverty--and dignity--of the area's coal miners. Author Bill Jay has divided this book into eight sections: A European Apprentice, Observing the English, Courting the Surreal, Journeys North, The Dark City (Brandt made haunting pictures of wartime London during the blackouts), A Return to Poetry, Portraying the Artist, and the Perfection of Form. Jay's introduction is warm and perceptive--and laced with juicy anecdotes. Nigel Warburton, another Brandt expert, contributes an illustrated time-line of Brandt's many professional assignments, under the rubric "The Career." This carefully edited book demonstrates why Brandt has always enjoyed high stature among artists, for it is packed with individual masterpieces. But even if it were not, it would be powerful simply for the breadth of Brandt's accomplishments.





David Hockney (Modern Masters Series, Vol. 17)

Hockney's engaging personality, his quirky but always enlightening ideas about art, and his inexhaustible inventiveness are captured with clear-eyed intelligence and grace in the newest volume in Abbeville's renowned Modern Master Series. Illustrations.




David Hockney's Dog Days

David Hockney's Dog Days is the slightest of books, but that may be just fine for dachshund lovers, who will be its best audience. Hockney's drawings and paintings of his two dogs are full of tender love. They are "not very good models," he says. "One knock on the door is enough to make them leap up." So he paints them snoozing, mostly horizontal (as dachshunds usually are), and mostly on yellow and blue backgrounds, which can be monotonous. These are not the dachshunds of Pierre Bonnard, who made strange black holes in otherwise glorious canvasses. No matter: Hockney offers "no apologies." Speaking as a dog lover, he explains, "These two little creatures are my friends.

  David Hockney : Paintings

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