David Hockney is a phenomenally successful artist who has also nurtured achievements in many fields other than painting; he is regarded as an eminent stage designer, photographer, draughtsman and printmaker.
His artistic work has continually defied conventional categorisation and classification; at different stages in his career he has moved seamlessly from cubist-inspired works to intensely abstract paintings, from multiple perspective photographs to bleaker, darker expressionist work, at times recalling Francis Bacon, another modern master.
He has often courted controversy and invited contention; he was a conscientious objector, he declined a knighthood in 1990 (yet, interestingly enough, he chose to accept an Order of Merit at the beginning of this year), and he has protested at cutbacks in arts funding.
Hockney’s current exhibition, A Bigger Picture, has sold four times as many advance tickets as that of The Real Van Gogh exhibition, which was in itself a record-breaker last year.
The 150 works on display at the Royal Academy’s Hockney exhibition are, in many cases, vast, impressive pieces, vivid and colourful evocations of nature. Many of the paintings, you will notice, include trees – indeed, a series of seven focuses on trees from Wolgate Wood. Similarly, one entire room is devoted to paintings of hawthorn blossoms in bloom, stunningly bedecking local roads.
Spend some time analysing The Sermon on the Mount series, named after the celebrated seventeenth-century painter Claude Lorrain’s composition of the same title. This series was motivated by Claude’s expert handling of the representation of space, which Hockney attempted to emulate.
Visit the David Hockney exhibition, A Bigger Picture, and marvel at the works of a man voted Britain’s most influential living painter. You will certainly not question why he was bestowed with such an impressive accolade.
A Bigger Picture runs until 9th April 2012.
Acquire your tickets to the exhibition of the year here.