A History of Pictures

A History of Pictures : From the Cave to the Computer Screen

4.36 (238 ratings by Goodreads)
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The making of pictures has a history going back perhaps 100,000 years to an African shell used as a paint palette. Two-thirds of it is irrevocably lost, since the earliest images known to us are from about 40,000 years ago. But what a 40,000 years, explored here by David Hockney and Martin Gayford in a brilliantly original book. They privilege no medium, or period, or style, but instead, in 16 chapters, discuss how and why pictures have been made, and insistently link `art' to human skills and human needs.
Each chapter addresses an important question: What happens when we try to express reality in two dimensions? Why is the `Mona Lisa' beautiful and why are shadows so rarely found in Chinese, Japanese and Persian painting? Why are optical projections always going to be more beautiful than HD television can ever be? How have the makers of images depicted movement? What makes marks on a flat surface interesting?
Energized by two lifetimes of looking at pictures, combined with a great artist's 70-year experience of experimentation as he makes them, this profoundly moving and enlightening volume will be the art book of the decade.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 360 pages
  • 215 x 278 x 43mm | 2,010g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • With 310 illustrations in colour and black and white
  • 0500239495
  • 9780500239490
  • 89,828

Table of contents

1. Pictures, Art and History * 2. Pictures and Reality * 3. Making Marks * 4. Shadows * 5. Picturing Space and Time * 6. Brunelleschi's Window and Alberti's Mirror * 7. Mirrors and Reflections * 8. Paper, Paint and Multiplying Pictures * 9. Painting the Stage and Staging Paintings * 10. Caravaggio and the Academy of the Lynx-Eyed * 11. Vermeer and Rembrandt: the Hand, the Lens and the Heart * 12. Truth and Beauty in the Age of Reason * 13. The Camera Before and After 1839 * 14. Photography, Truth and Painting * 15. Painting with and without Photography * 16. Snapshots and Moving Pictures * 17. Movies and Stills * 18. The Unending History of Pictures
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Review quote

'Crisps up perceptions and help readers to look anew' - The Times 'A magic flight of a book ... It's a measure of Hockney's vividness of perception that he can always put a cap on Gayford's knowledge ... Fabulous!' - Clive James, Guardian 'An eloquent conversational testimony to the vividness of life lived through intelligent looking. You will see Caravaggio and Citizen Kane with fresh eyes' - Daily Telegraph 'Hockney asks big questions about the nature of picture-making and the relationship between painters and photography in a way that no other contemporary artist seems to do ... Enormously good-humoured and entertaining ... On almost every page, there is an interesting provocation' - Andrew Marr, New Statesman 'I won't read a more interesting book all year ... utterly fascinating' - A. N. Wilson, Sunday Times
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About David Hockney

David Hockney is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. He has produced work in almost every medium - painting, drawing, stage design, photography and printmaking - and has stretched the boundaries of all of them. Born in Bradford, England, in 1937, Hockney attended art school in London before moving to Los Angeles in the 1960s. There, he painted his famous swimming pool paintings. In a 2011 poll of more than 1,000 British artists, Hockney was voted the most influential British artist of all time. He continues to create and exhibit art. Martin Gayford is art critic for The Spectator and the author of acclaimed books on Van Gogh, Constable and Michelangelo. He is the author of Man with a Blue Scarf, Rendez-vous with Art and A Bigger Message. He has collaborated with David Hockney on A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney and A History of Pictures, and has co-written a volume of travels and conversations with Philippe de Montebello: Rendez-vous with Art.
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Rating details

238 ratings
4.36 out of 5 stars
5 53% (125)
4 35% (84)
3 9% (22)
2 2% (4)
1 1% (3)
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