| van Eyck Lotto Caravaggio Optics Focal lengths Oil paint No documentation Arnolfini portrait Problems tracing Demonstrations Technology Future discussions Summary
There are tens of thousands of modern extremely realistic "optical" representational paintings and drawings that we know for certain were created without reliance on optical aids. There is even a School of Representational Art in Chicago devoted to "bringing the great painting traditions of the Old Masters to a new generation of artists" -- traditions as commonly understood, not the methods proposed by Hockney and Falco. Thus we must view Mr. Hockney's claim that Renaissance painters didn't have the requisite abilities with some caution. Nevertheless, I want to show just one painting to illustrate the remarkable drawing and memory abilities of trained artists. At the right is a photograph, and the left a drawing of the same person; notice the ears flat against the head, the bulge in the chin -- a fairly good, if not excellent rendition.
Summary: Clearly, trained artists have remarkable abilities, and it seems plausible that van Eyck, Leonardo, Caravaggio and other Renaissance painters had the requisite talent to create their paintings without reliance on optical devices.