| Hockney Stork Experts Assumptions Camera-obscura Italians Caravaggio Camera Inquisition Mirror-lens Notes
With this evidence it is difficult to sustain Gorman’s dismissal of Hockney’s theories (about Caravaggio) against what is known about Della Porta. Caravaggio must have begun to experiment with a different lens system around the mid-1590s, as by 1600 he was able to stun the world with his San Luigi paintings, Matthew Called and Matthew Killed.48 Regardless of these possibilities most of them known to Hockney rebutters scientists like David Stork remain with the feeling that they have settled everything against the use of optical aids by early “masters,” such as Caravaggio. But then David Stork also spends pages trying to refute Hockney with the wrong lens. And he confidently asserts “there are no historical records before 1598 … of any concave mirror being used to project an image except through burning.”49 This “fact” would have been enough to blow my careful chronology for Caravaggio right out of the water, except that it was actually Michael Gorman (also a Hockney detractor) who contradicted this by pointing out that Della Porta, in his 1558 edition of Natural Magic, describes exactly how to use a concave mirror to project an image, and this is long before Stork’s cut-off point of 1598.50 Further, Gorman has also gotten himself muddled up on a vital art-historical point in believing that Caravaggio’s Contarelli Matthew paintings are frescoes. Caravaggio was not a fresco painter and Matthew Called and Matthew Killed as illustrated by Gorman in his article,51 are oil on canvas (all three metres by three metres each of them). It is hard to imagine how Caravaggio could have squeezed models and camera obscura into a chapel while he was working on a “fresco,” but the point is erroneous and therefore irrelevant.
© Susan Audrey Grundy