Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Did the Great Masters "Cheat" using Optics?

Yesterday I saw a very interesting computer science/art history lecture given by David G. Stork, chief Scientist at Ricoh Innovations.

His lecture was, in large part, a response to the Hockney-Falco thesis, which basically said that around the rise of Realism in painters around 1420 is attributed to the use of optical aids.

Stork has an abstract of the talk up: Hockney Technical Abstract

Basically, the answer was: they most probably didn't cheat. The two biggest reasons (of a lengthy list):

  1. Oil paint saw a dramatic rise in the 15th century for artistic purposes. Oil paint is much better for creating the tones needed for realism.
  2. Eyeglasses came into larger use during this time.


It was certainly a very interesting talk! Stork has a FAQ online as well.

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