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While the use of optical aids would generally enhance accuracy, Falco calculated the types of distortion that would result from specific optical devices; Hockney and Falco argued that such errors could in fact be found in the work of some of the Old Masters.
In particular, it has spurred increased interest in the actual methods and techniques of artists among scientists and historians of scienceas well as general historians and art historians.
The latter have in general reacted unfavorably, interpreting the Hockney—Falco thesis as an accusation that the Old Masters "cheated" and intentionally obscured their methods. Stork and several co-authors have argued against the Hockney—Falco thesis from a technical standpoint. He was struck by the accuracy of portraits by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingresand became convinced that Ingres had used a camera lucida or similar device.
From there, Hockney began looking for signs of the use of optical aids in earlier paintings, creating what he called the Great Art analysis thesis in his studio by organizing images of great realistic art by time period.
What he saw as a sudden rise of realism aroundcombined with Charles Falco's suggestion that concave mirrors could have been used in that period to project images, was the germ of the Hockney—Falco thesis.
InHockney published an extended form of his argument in Secret Knowledge. The hypothesis that technology was used in the production of Renaissance Art was not much in dispute in early studies and literature. Hockney suggests that later artists, beginning with CaravaggioArt analysis thesis convex mirrors as well, to achieve a large field of view.
Secret Knowledge recounts Hockney's search for evidence of optical aids in the work of earlier artists, including the assembly of a "Great Wall" of the history of Western art.
The 15th century work of Jan van Eyck seems to be the turning point, he argues, after which elements of realism became increasingly prominent. He correlates shifts toward increased realism with advances in optical technologies. The argument of Secret Knowledge is primarily a visual one, as Hockney was largely unable to determine when and how optical aids were used by textual or direct evidence.
Falco said that his and Hockney's examples of Renaissance art "demonstrate a continuum in the use of optics by artists from c.
Stork analyzed the images used by Falco and Hockney, and came to the conclusion that they do not demonstrate the kinds of optical distortion that curved mirrors or converging lenses would cause.
Leonardo also describes a camera obscura in his Codex Atlanticus of — The camera obscura was well known for centuries and documented by Ibn al-Haitham in his Book of Optics of — In 13th-century England Roger Bacon described the use of a camera obscura for the safe observation of solar eclipsesexactly because the viewer looks at the projected image and not the sun itself.
These manuscripts not only describe methods for making mirrors and parabolic mirrors but also discuss their use for image projection. Optical glass[ edit ] Sara J. Schechner claimed that surviving glassware from the 15th and 16th centuries is far too imperfect to have been used to create realistic images, while "even thinking about projecting images was alien to the contemporary conceptual frame of mind.
Ilardi documents Lorenzo Lotto 's purchase of a high-priced crystal mirror inbolstering the Hockney—Falco thesis in Lotto's case. Dutch draper and pioneering microbiologist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek —a contemporary of artist Vermeer and an executor for Vermeer when he died in in Delft was known to have exceptional lens making skills, having created single small lenses capable of x magnification, far exceeding those of more complex compound microscopes of the period.
Indeed, his feats of lens making were not matched for a considerable time as he kept aspects of their construction secret; in the s, C. Stong used thin glass thread fusing instead of polishing to recreate Leeuwenhoek design microscopes.
It was long believed that Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was a master lens grinder a notion repeated in the recent BBC television documentary "Cell". However, it is now believed[ by whom? Van Eyck also left his signature above this mirror,  showing the importance of the tool.
The painting includes a crown glass window in the upper left side, a rather expensive luxury at the time. Van Eyck was rather fascinated by glass and its qualities, which was as well of high symbolic importance for his contemporaries.
Vermeer might have created his paintings aided by an optical device, as Jenison demonstrates by recreating a Vermeer painting. Scharf notes in his introduction p. Archived February 20,at the Wayback Machine.
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