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Secret Knowledge (New and Expanded Edition): Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters Paperback – October 5, 2006
An Amazon Book with Buzz: "Sweet Sorrow" by David Nicholls
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Even though I knew about many of the mechanical drawing apparatuses that have been employed at various times throughout history, Hockney explains them so well and shows so many examples that I feel as though I am learning about them anew. I was also intrigued that he touched upon one of the things that has forever intrigued me - why a reversed image looks so different from the original and that seeing an image one way and be infinitely more pleasing than seeing it reversed. He goes into much detail about this, and shows multiple examples, when he ponders over the high numbers of left-handed subjects in many old paintings. And that is just for starters.
The number of visuals in this book rivals any that I have seen and, even though I have not counted, it certainly appears that visual examples outnumber text blocks by quite a bit. The visuals accompanying Holbein's "The Ambassadors" show exactly what so many people miss about it, and illustrates why the painting is mounted in such a way that makes it possible to view from the upper right corner. If you sit in that room in the National Gallery, you will notice that hardly anyone ever walks to that spot and looks - they have no idea what fun they are missing!
On a personal note, it was delightful to read that Hockney has the same fascination with the Arnolfini portrait as I, and doubtless many other people, do, and also to learn why. And I think that's what art lovers will like most about this book - that they have occasionally noticed the same exact details that a great artist has also seen, and that indeed is a very exciting thing.
I enjoyed the read.
A big book with much to study