Quantitative analysis of qualitative images

David Hockney, Charles M. Falco

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

We show optical evidence that demonstrates artists as early as Jan van Eyck and Robert Campin (c1425) used optical projections as aids for producing their paintings. We also have found optical evidence within works by later artists, including Bermejo (c1475), Lotto (c1525), Caravaggio (c1600), de la Tour (c1650), Chardin (c1750) and Ingres (c1825), demonstrating a continuum in the use of optical projections by artists, along with an evolution in the sophistication of that use. However, even for paintings where we have been able to extract unambiguous, quantitative evidence of the direct use of optical projections for producing certain of the features, this does not mean that paintings are effectively photographs. Because the hand and mind of the artist are intimately involved in the creation process, understanding these complex images requires more than can be obtained from only applying the equations of geometrical optics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number36
Pages (from-to)326-336
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume5666
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 20 2005
EventProceedings of SPIE-IS and T Electronic Imaging - Human Vision and Electronic Imaging X - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 17 2005Jan 20 2005

Keywords

  • Art
  • Holbein
  • Human vision
  • Image analysis
  • Paintings
  • Renaissance
  • Van Eyck

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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