Renaissance paintings may actually be photographs?

Timeshifter

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In my research into a true history of photography, I have begun to uncover some wow moments, not least, the British Artist David Hockney believes that renaissance artists where using camera Obscura and lenses to ‘sketch’ their paintings centuries before we are told in the mainstream that they did. He proposes they could not have acquired such detail drawing simply by eye.

The mainstream maintains the 17th Century for the implementation of the Camera Obscura for artists, however Hockney proves through the integration of images, modern photography and using maths, that as early as 1540 Lorenzo Otto was using the lens, camera Obscura were in use for paintings. However, he also proposed that similarities in focus and lines appeared in Van Dyck’s paining almost a century earlier.

Here is a self portrait by Van Dyck, very photographic.... 1633

1024px-Anthonyvandyckselfportrait (1).jpeg

Vermeer, 1660, very photographic...

1043px-Jan_Vermeer_van_Delft_-_The_Glass_of_Wine_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

Lorenzo Lotto, 1545, very photographic....

portrait-of-a-married-couple-lorenzo-lotto.jpg

The mainstream narrative however remains that this is impossible that artists used lenses in this period because glass and lenses in the 1600's were not of sufficient quality, and they may not have been.

However, physicist Charles Falco points out to Hockney, concave mirrors and their projection properties. Concave mirrors were certainly in use by the 1500s. The projection from a concave mirror is demonstrated here at 7.20, along with excellent explanations of this use of lenses and mirrors.


So, to create a photograph, it turns out that you don’t even need a lens, a dark room, a camera or camera Obscura, all you need is a concave mirror and good light and a surface to reflect it onto (and the means to fix it)

This proved to Hockney that indeed Van Dyck and other artists were using concave mirrors to at the very least sketch there images, if not the detail and colour, 300 years before the mainstream admits it.

This further spiked my theory that if these painters/ artists were projecting these images, surely someone must have been attempting to record the image in ways other than painting and drawing?

According to mainstream science, mirrors have been recorded in use as far back as 4000 bc (Mesopotamia) if true, this ‘reflection’ projection will have been in use forever. This, married with other knowns such as the light collecting properties Bitumen of Judea (3000 bc), where are the photographs?....
Whilst considering this and listening to Hockney’s hypothesis, it hit me, what if many, if not all of these so-called ‘renaissance paintings’ are actually photographs? Photographs, which have been painted over to disguise the actual real photographic image? Hence their realism and detail?

Why? Well, imagine the last 600 years plus of history presented to us in actual photographs!

Alternatively, I believe at the very least, photography was ‘painted out’ of existence. By that, I mean painting was allowed, because it could be considered an interpretation of reality. Photography however was banned, made illegal, and hidden until it was deemed ‘safe’ to allow it use again (late 17 – 1800’s)

This is a working hypothesis, I will continue in my endeavours to discover more truths, but I would love to hear the forums thoughts.

cheers
 
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anotherlayer

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Wonderful thread. It brings me back to when I was a child and I would be dragged to the Albright Knox Art Gallery. I was mesmerized with the painting I have posted below. To me, this was always just beyond painting. If I went to the gallery today, I would head straight towards it. It's magnificent. Large version.

1899_003_014_osm.jpg

Jehan Georges Vibert
French, 1840-1902
The Marvelous Sauce, ca. 1890
oil on wood panel
Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
Bequest of Elisabeth H. Gates, 1899​
 

jd755

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A slight aside but David Hockney is a, lets say, intriguing character. But that aside over with, I must be older than you because I made a pin hole camera in primary school in the late sixties. Not just me obviously we all made one. No film just an upside down image on a sheet of tracing paper glued on the back of 'the camera' a cardboard box with a literal pinhole on one side opposite to the tracing paper 'screen'.
 
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Timeshifter

Timeshifter

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70s for me JD I am 47.

I am obviously aware & used obscura techniques, I have to admit however the concave mirror version was a wow moment for me, obvious once the penny drops though.
 

jd755

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70s for me JD I am 47.

I am obviously aware & used obscura techniques, I have to admit however the concave mirror version was a wow moment for me, obvious once the penny drops though.
The concave mirror is at the centre of the bagua a device for scaring evil spirits which is placed over the doorway of a Chinese house. Ergo it appears to have 'been known' for a considerable time.
 

KorbenDallas

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These paintings look very photo-like indeed.

I thought about a similar equipment while studying father and son Piranesis’ works. The details, when you get a hold of a high res image, are astounding. When we combine these details, with volumes produced, it becomes obvious that they simply would not have enough time to produce all the works attributed to them.
 

ripvanwillie

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I think you may be onto something.
It is reputed that Michelangelo used a technique that allowed his students to paint one mural as a group of artists under the name of Michelangelo. Not sure if that is true, but that technique apparently started the paint-by-numbers craze of the latter half of the 20th century.


I always felt that this was suspect, because every artist has his/her own individual style. As a kid growing up painting hundreds of these paint by number kits with other friends, even though the colors and patterns were the same, one could always tell them apart. Now we weren't professional artists of course, just kids.
But with these classic paintings being scrutinized so heavily and for so many years, if they were different artists, I think there would be minor, but identifiable differences in brush strokes, angles, depth, and such. No two hands or pair of eyes are the same.

Even more intriguing to me is the advance perspectives used in these classic paintings. That is where the art of painting meets mathematics. Geometry and proportion. I can't imagine a group of artists being able to match what the individual eyes and brains interpret as perspective without some mathematical intervention or technology...

Photography?

This is the basic method used by Norman Rockwell. Maybe he knew something about these classic artists that we didn't.

Triple_Self_Portrait_5_6_crop.jpg

Some of his inspirations are pinned to the canvas on the upper right.

This is an interesting site showing the actual photos he used.
The Photographs Norman Rockwell Used to Create His Famous Paintings

Mr. Rockwell, of course, used characterization to make his paintings humorous. But an artist could easily use the same or similar technique to make realistic copies and this would give the perspectives we see in classic paintings.

Now, if the classic artists were to use a camera obscura, a mirror, a pin hole camera or some other device, combined with a method of making a photographic tracing or etching of some sort, this multiple artist technique would make more sense and the volume of paintings more reasonable. The artists would simply paint over the tracing or image.
In my mind, this might give the paintings that photographic look that we see in the examples.

Just a few thoughts.
 

Dielectric

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Don't kid yourself, there's people who can paint like they had eyeballs made from camera lens. My father was both an artist and a teacher, and he could draw like a robot can cut metal to a micron, and some of his students works were mind boggling. Those however are the rarity. This is some very interesting information and it's almost certain that this will be researched more as time goes on. I expect that there will be some rude unwanted revelations as a result. This is certainly something which would be fun to try and if you've got brats this is sure to be seen with shock and awe.

Ideal material for my parents are God's; ya know what I mean?

Oh yea, I have a true story too about the cops catching a guy because of the picture one of his students drew. This kid was hitch hiking and some guy picked him up and then drove off the highway and stopped and evidently intended on raping him because he ended up butt naked, but got clear enough to begin running. Well this is Washington State in some wooded area, where I can't recall because I was very young when this all happened, but lucky for him he ran into a logging outfit who literally saved his ass. So latter the Sheriff of course shows up and asks for a description, where upon he said have you got a sheet of paper and a pencil? That was all it took. Ten minutes later the cops looked at that sketch and said un huh, yea we know who he is. True story.
 
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KorbenDallas

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From what I understand about the works of Leonardo da Vinci:
  • His paintings have no brush strokes.
  • The thickness of the paint layers does nor deviate, and stays constant throughout.
  • Talcum paint base was ground to the size we use in the today's high quality printers.
In other words, is everything we look at was a manually done art thing?
 
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Timeshifter

Timeshifter

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Here is a painting I did recently in Liverpool, UK.

_DSC0912 cw.jpg

Actually, I lied, it is actually a one click 'watercolour' filter created in Photoshop from this photograph I made below...

_DSC0912 c.jpg

Although I did this using current technology, it would have just as easy for me to paint over the photograph should I be able to paint.

I believe many of these 'Renaissance' works of art were not only copied from photographs, but some are actually painted over and therefore hiding the original photographs.

_DSC0912-c2.gif
 
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Timeshifter

Timeshifter

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Have you heard of the camera obscura? It was the forerunner to the camera... Artists could project an image on a surface and paint over it... Thats why I bought a couple used projectors on Facebook market place for 50 bucks... My buddies gf has been hustling some shitty paintings by just painting over the projection... Camera Obscura and the Paintings of Old Masters
I have yes, however for this post, the use of mirrors is what is suggested, 400 years before camera obscura is accepted as being used.
 

maxresde

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Semi-related

book_1.jpg
  • The Crystal Sun
    • Archaeologists have always insisted most strenuously that lenses did not exist in ancient times. Robert Temple’s real-life detective story proves them wrong. His research began with the discovery that an ancient artifact in the British Museum, believed to be a piece of rock crystal, had, in fact, been ground to form a lens.
    • In this fascinating book, one of the most revolutionary studies in the history of science and civilization to be published for decades, Robert Temple reconstructs the story of light technology in ancient civilization. Dating back at least to 2600 BC to Old Kingdom Egypt, but unknown to modern archaeologists and historians, a science of optics and a sophisticated technology for the manufacture of lenses was widespread and fundamental in ancient times. It inspired awe in cultures who used it, so became encoded in their mythologies and religions.
This book the author says that lenses and optics were known in ancient times. I found it pretty convincing. If they claim this stuff can't be done just because of lack of lens, I would say that is not a strong argument.
 

Samson4prez

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I have yes, however for this post, the use of mirrors is what is suggested, 400 years before camera obscura is accepted as being used.
The quote I attached is from the Hockney- Falco thesis page on Wikipedia... I says the knowledge of the camera obscura dates back to 1437, which means it could have been in use a lot long as a trade secret... If anything this means that whoever started this thread is very perceptive because there was a book written about concept of the renaissance artists paintings looking too photorealistic...

“The hypothesis that technology was used in the production of Renaissance Art was not much in dispute in early studies and literature.[11] The 1929 Encyclopædia Britannica contained an extensive article on the camera obscura and cited Leon Battista Alberti as the first documented user of the device as early as 1437.”
 
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