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A History of Pictures - From the Cave to the Computer Screen (hardback)


Author: David Hockney

For us to understand how we see the world around us – and hence ourselves – what is needed is a history of pictures. This is that book. David Hockney and art critic Martin Gayford discuss the 30,000-year-old history of pictures in one brilliantly original volume.

‘The history of pictures begins in the caves and ends, at the moment, with the computer screen. Who knows where it will go next? But one thing is certain, the challenge remains the same: how do you represent the three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface?’  – David Hockney

Informed and energized by a lifetime of painting, drawing and making images with cameras, Hockney, in collaboration with Gayford, explores how and why pictures have been made. What makes marks on a flat surface interesting? How do you show movement in a still picture, and how do films and television connect with old masters? What are the ways in which time and space can be condensed into a static image? What do pictures show – truth or lies? Do photographs present the world as we experience it?

Juxtaposing a rich variety of images – a still from a Disney cartoon with a print by Hiroshige, a scene from an Eisenstein film with a Velázquez painting – the authors cross the normal boundaries between high culture and popular entertainment, and make unexpected connections across time and media. 

‘One thing is for sure. I won’t read a more interesting book all year … Although it begins by eschewing the word art, it starts to make sense of the word for me — more than anything I have ever read’ – A.N.Wilson Sunday Times

'Hockney, by sheer brilliance of perception, has put himself in a position where every major picture he knows about is a bottomless well of excitement.' Clive James, Guardian

  • Approx dimensions 27.80 x 21.50 cm
  • Hardback
  • 360pp
  • With 310 illustrations in colour and black and white
  • First published 2016