THE HOCKNEY-FALCO THESIS—HOW THE OLD MASTERS DID IT. A new movie has been a hit at the Toronto International Film Festival. In the movie, Penn and Teller support the Hockney-Falco thesis. I posted here about David Hockney’s observation that: ““drawing is fundamentally about constructing a two-dimensional image of three-dimensional space.” Hockney wrote a book, SECRET KNOWLEDGE, which elaborated on this observation. It argued that the turn to realism in Western painting was “primarily the result of optical aids such as the camera obscura, camera lucida, and curved mirrors. This wikipedia article describes what it calls the Hockney-Falco thesis. Charles Falco is a physicist who has collaborated with Hockney. Falco has calculated some types of distortion that would result from specific optical devices. Hockney and Falco have argued that such errors appear in the works of some Old Masters. The wikipedia article says that the Hockney-Falco thesis is very controversial, with art historians “interpreting the Hockney–Falco thesis as an accusation that the Old Masters ‘cheated'”.

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