Sunday, June 04, 2006

Art Duplication, featuring Magneto

Roy Lichtenstein's Image Duplicator is a Jack Kirby panel depicting Magneto from the X-Men.

This copy copy is used to front a long but entertaining essay about David Hockney and his theory that a lot of famous old paintings were done with the assistance of optics - that the renaissance may owe a debt to concave mirrors and the like.

The article is convincing, particularly when it discusses abnormalities of reproduction which could easily be explained through shifting lenses. It's a fascinating world in which ladies have two elbows and carpets have patterns that don't focus quite as they should. It's a fun read, a mystery that's played out through subtle clues in famous artwork. Unlike, well, you know, the piece's subject is art, science, and truth. About these matters, Carl Sagan, whom the linked piece quotes at the end, wrote:
In some respects, science has far surpassed religion in delivering awe. How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, "This is better than we thought! The universe is much bigger than our prophets said--grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed"? Instead they say, "No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way." A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.
Carl Sagan was a real hoopy frood.

No comments: