Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tim's Vermeer

I watched a fascinating documentary last night called, Tim's Vermeer.  It follows inventor, Tim Jenison and his quest to prove the theory that Johannes Vermeer used optics in order to paint extremely realistic paintings during the 17th Century. Everyone has seen a Vermeer or at least the most famous one...

Girl With a Pearl Earring
Books have been written about the idea that Vermeer may have used an early version of the "camera obscura" to project a scene on a wall in a dark room through a pinhole lens. His work has always been thought to be too perfect and his pieces (when x-rayed) show absolutely no sketching under the oil paint.

Tim Jenison wanted to recreate a Vermeer using this technique or something similar in order to prove that it could be done using 17th Century technology.  What he discovers is something truly magnificent and ground breaking in the Art History world.  If correct Vermeer may have not only been a great artist but a brilliant inventor and early "photographer".

Tim using mirror technique to do his very first painting copying a portrait of his father
The scene Tim set up in order to precisely copy a famous Vermeer

Here is the trailer to the movie and it is only 99 cents to rent on iTunes this week.  It's not long and is most definitely worth the time.  It is directed by Teller (of Penn and Teller) as well as produced and narrated by Penn himself.


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