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Hockney's eye : the art and technology of depiction / edited by Martin Gayford, Martin Kemp and Jane Munro.
London : Paul Holberton Publishing Ltd., 2022.
Physical Description:
184 pages : illustrations (chiefly color), portraits ; 29 cm
Reference Library
NJ18.H64 A12 2022 (LC) Oversize
Accessible in the Reference Library [Hours]
Note: Please contact the Reference Library to schedule an appointment [Email ycba.reference@yale.edu]

First published to accompany the exhibition Hockney's Eye : the Art and Technology of Depiction, held at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge 15 March - 29 August 2022; The Heong Gallery, Cambridge, 15 March - 29 August 2022; Teylers Museum, Haarlem, 24 September 2022 - 30 January 2023.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Throughout his long career, David Hockney has insistently explored diverse ways of depicting the visible world. He has scrutinised the methods of the old masters, and explored radical departures from their cherished assumptions. The exhibitions accompanied by this volume are the first to focus on this central theme in his art. 'Western art' from the Renaissance until at least the late 19th century has been dominated by the depiction of nature. Was this to be accomplished by direct looking (called "eyeballing" by Hockney) or with the assistance of optical theory and devices, such as cameras? Hockney has experimented with the full range of existing strategies, overtly using perspective in some of his classic pictures and rigorously investigating optical aids for the imitation of nature, including the camera obscura and camera lucida. Yet he has come to reject the photograph as the definitive image of what we see. Along the way, he has identified a 'camera culture' in European painting from 1400, arguing very controversially that the supreme naturalism of painters like Jan van Eyck are the product of optical devices. His book, Secret Knowledge (2001), with its majestic panorama of paintings over the course of five centuries, claims that art historians have missed the central aspect of painters' practice. The 'Hockney thesis' has been received more favourably outside the professional world of art history than in it. His own artistic practice has been in vigorous dialogue with his radical thesis, and he has progressively demonstrated new and dynamic ways of characterising the visual world without perspective and other conventional techniques. This quest results a series of joyous challenges to our ways of seeing in the major exhibition in Cambridge at the Fitzwilliam Museum and in the Heong Gallery (Downing College). It will look at the whole span of Hockney's varied career and at the nature of the optical devices he has tested. His vision will be explored in the setting of traditional masterpieces of naturalistic observation, and in the context of modern sciences and technologies of seeing. The first section of the book looks at his thrilling experiments in seeing and representing in broad historical and contemporary contexts. This is followed by discussions of pre-photographic devices for capturing the appearances of things by optical means. The third section includes essays on Hockney's experiments from the perspectives of neuroscience and computer vision. In short, it reveals in a new way the working of Hockney's unique eye.
Subject Terms:
Art and technology -- Exhibitions.
Art and technology.
Hockney, David -- Exhibitions.
Hockney, David.
Exhibition catalogs.
Exhibition catalogs.
Hockney, David.
Gayford, Martin, 1952- editor.
Kemp, Martin, editor.
Munro, Jane, editor.
Fitzwilliam Museum, host institution.
Heong Gallery, host institution.
Teylers Museum, host institution.

  • Introduction: the 'Hockney Thesis' / Martin Gayford, Martin Kemp, and Jane Munro
  • David Hockney: space explorer / Martin Gayford
  • Seeing through perspective / Martin Kemp
  • Hobbema's Avenue and the ordering of nature: arboreal and optical / Martin Kemp and Gabriel Hemery
  • 'All kinds of objects': Cornelius Varley, the Patent Graphic Telescope and the use of optical instruments by nineteenth-century British artists / Anne Lyles
  • The camera lucida and the technologies of imitation / Boris Jardine
  • Canaletto's camera / Philip Steadman
  • Ingres and Hockney: art, science and uniformity / Jane Munro
  • Hockney through the mind's eye / Zoe Kourtzi, Andrew Welchman and Martin Kemp
  • Colour in the mind of Hockney / Anya Hurlbert
  • Escaping Alberti's prison: space, narrative, and computer visualization in Domenico Veneziano's Fitzwilliam predella panels / Donal Cooper, Francesca Aimi, Fabrizio Nevola and Luca Brunke.