University of Rochester

EVENT: Lecture on "Art and Optics" by David Stork: How Renaissance painters may have used optics to project images onto canvas

TIME, DATE, AND PLACE: 2-4 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2003, in the Interfaith Chapel on the University of Rochester River Campus

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public

January 20, 2003

In 2001, artist David Hockney and scientist Charles Falco stunned the art world with a controversial theory that, if correct, would profoundly alter our view of the development of image making. They claimed that as early as 1430, Renaissance artists employed optical devices such as concave mirrors to project images onto their canvases, which they then traced or painted over. This may explain the newfound heightened naturalism or "opticality" of painters such as van Eyck, Campin, Holbein the Younger, and many others.

A 2 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 6 in the Interfaith Chapel on the University of Rochester River Campus, David G. Stork, visiting lecturer in art and art history at Stanford University, will present the results of the first independent examinations of the Hockney/Falco theory. The talk is for general audiences and is profusely illustrated with Renaissance paintings. It covers basic geometrical optics of images formation, shadows and perspective as well as 15th-century technology with special emphasis on Lorenzo Lotto's "Husband and Wife" (1543), van Eyck's "Portrait of Arnolfini and His Wife" (1434), Caravaggio's "Supper at Emmaus" (1596-8), and Robert Campin's "Merode Altarpiece" (1426).