View Full Version : The painter’s fertile imagination

George Potter
January 31st, 2013, 07:18 PM

Great essays.

You wrote:

Most of these motifs are not found in any extant carpets, which makes us wonder whether they are always faithful representations or are, in part, fruit of the painter’s fertile imagination.

One of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century, David Hockney, in the 2001 television programme and book, Secret Knowledge, is convinced that the masters of European painting used camera obscura’s from around 1420s, marking the remarkable change in painting at this time.

With David’s assumptions in the programme, the images of rugs in paintings after 1420s in European paintings are correct and mostly precise. The programme is available on YouTube in two parts, links below:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKbFZIpNK10

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDIiVkoTik8

/ George

Pierre Galafassi
February 1st, 2013, 01:17 PM
Hi George,

Although I mentioned «for benefit of inventary» the possibility that some rugs represented in paintings might be a painter’s invention, I do share your opinion and Hockney’s, that rug representations, in Renaissance painting, were probably nearly always precise, with or without camera obscura. Indeed, Renaissance painters took great pride in reproducing objects with accuracy.
Later, Baroque and Rococo painters, were more likely to unchain their creativity and perhaps even committed some "improved" rugs, when they did not degrade them to the status of an indistinct splash of color. Alternatively, some strange rugs, especially in paintings of the second half of the seventeenth century, were quite possibly European-made phantasies «à la Turque», jobs of French-, Dutch or British weavers.

Best regards

Pierre Galafassi
February 1st, 2013, 01:31 PM
Thanks for the links.
Hockney's presentation is fascinating and persuasive: his case for the usage of the camera obscura is strong.