The nearly 80-year-old artist has written a book called A History of Pictures. It’s chock-full of art he’s loved looking at, including one painter he credits with inventing Hollywood lighting.
Hockney’s A History of Pictures is chock-full of images — a few photos, but mostly reproductions of paintings he’s loved looking at over the years. His favorite is a quick pen and ink drawing Rembrandt made in 1656. It shows a mother, a father and a sister teaching a little child to walk. The jot of a curve makes a shoulder; a flick of the brush shows the father squatting, encouraging the child. Hockney thinks it’s a virtuoso piece.
“You see the tenderness of the drawing, I think. But you also see … the marks that made the drawing as well,” he says. “I mean, you can look at the mother and see the little ragged dress she has on, but then you see the marks that were made to do this and how few there are.”
The drawing is minimal and universal. “Any person anywhere in the world has seen something like this and experienced it,” Hockney says.