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Title: The Science of Optics; The History of Art

Abstract

Recently, renowned artist David Hockney observed that certain drawings and paintings from as early as the Renaissance seemed almost 'photographic' in detail. Following an extensive visual investigation of western art of the past 1000 years, he made the revolutionary claim that artists even of the prominence of van Eyck and Bellini must have used optical aids. However, many art historians insisted there was no supporting evidence for such a remarkable assertion. In this talk I show a wealth of optical evidence for his claim that Hockney and I subsequently discovered during an unusual, and remarkably-productive, collaboration between an artist and a scientist. I also discuss the unique properties of the 'mirror lens,' and some of the implications this work has for the history of science as well as the history of art (and the modern fields of machine vision and computerized image analysis). These discoveries convincingly demonstrate optical instruments were in use - by artists, not scientists - nearly 200 years earlier than previously even thought possible, and account for the remarkable transformation in the reality of portraits that occurred early in the 15th century.

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
FNAL (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL), Batavia, IL (United States))
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
987184
DOE Contract Number:
AC02-07CH11359
Resource Type:
Multimedia
Resource Relation:
Conference: Fermilab Colloquia, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL), Batvia, Illinois (United States), presented on June 28, 2006
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS

Citation Formats

Falco, Charles. The Science of Optics; The History of Art. United States: N. p., 2006. Web.
Falco, Charles. The Science of Optics; The History of Art. United States.
Falco, Charles. Wed . "The Science of Optics; The History of Art". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/987184.
@article{osti_987184,
title = {The Science of Optics; The History of Art},
author = {Falco, Charles},
abstractNote = {Recently, renowned artist David Hockney observed that certain drawings and paintings from as early as the Renaissance seemed almost 'photographic' in detail. Following an extensive visual investigation of western art of the past 1000 years, he made the revolutionary claim that artists even of the prominence of van Eyck and Bellini must have used optical aids. However, many art historians insisted there was no supporting evidence for such a remarkable assertion. In this talk I show a wealth of optical evidence for his claim that Hockney and I subsequently discovered during an unusual, and remarkably-productive, collaboration between an artist and a scientist. I also discuss the unique properties of the 'mirror lens,' and some of the implications this work has for the history of science as well as the history of art (and the modern fields of machine vision and computerized image analysis). These discoveries convincingly demonstrate optical instruments were in use - by artists, not scientists - nearly 200 years earlier than previously even thought possible, and account for the remarkable transformation in the reality of portraits that occurred early in the 15th century.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2006},
month = {6}
}

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