It has been such a dismal Easter that I have only ventured out to replenish creme egg supplies. But I have been engrossed in some very good books.
All too often I find that art books seem to make a virtue of turgid, impenetrable prose.
But this book was brilliant, the next best thing to a long, illuminating chat with Hockney himself - perhaps over a pot of Yorkshire tea and a bag of Maltesers (I'm not sure where he stands on creme eggs), because he always sounds as if he'd be great fun and very good company.
I realised that the RA exhibition had changed the way that I look at English landscape when I found myself on a train ride to Ely mentally Photoshopping all the reds in the bleak winter fields. (Although this book had something to do with it, too.)
They were all pieces of what could be called - in the manner of a wine merchant who markets 'Good Ordinary Claret' - 'good ordinary English landscape': nothing to attract tourists in search of beauty spots. Its attractions, like those of Constable's East Bergholt, were revealed only to those who observed it long and hard. (Martin Gayford)
But it was the chapter about Caravaggio and his camera obscura that gave me another lightbulb moment when I realised that Caravaggio was working in much the same way as Hockney was with his Polaroids a few years ago. So now he has changed the way that I look at centuries of art history ...
I haven't read Hockney's Secret Knowledge but it sounds intriguing.