Monday, June 16, 2014

Tim's Vermeer

Featuring high definition images of Vermeer's masterpieces, Tim's Vermeer examines the obsessive and painstaking efforts Penn & Teller's inventor friend Tim Jenison would go to in unravelling the mysteries of how the Dutch artist created his photorealistic, jewel-like paintings in this remarkable documentary. Using his video and electronics background, Jenison theorizes that Vermeer used a camera obscura, mirrors, and other optical technology to paint his canvasses. With seemingly unlimited time, money, patience, and resources, Jenison decides the best way to go about the quixotic undertaking of reverse-engineering Vermeer's secrets would be to reinvent Vermeer's paint, grind his own 17th century-style optical lenses, build Dutch Golden Age furniture, recreate the room Vermeer painted in, and copy the master's painting The Music Room...all by hand and with little-to-no experience in any of those disciplines. The result is amazing, and only solidifies what the world has already known for 3 centuries, that Vermeer was one of the greatest artistic geniuses who ever lived.

I saw the painting The Girl With A Pearl Earring last year when it was briefly on display in Atlanta's High Museum. It was a thrill to see this incredible piece of art up close, and by "up close" I really mean "from about 15 feet away, with dozens of other people, from behind a barrier, while it was being protected by bulletproof glass and an armed guard". Still, the painting had an otherworldly glow about it, and the colors were brilliant. Photos do not do it justice. If you get a chance to see one of Vermeer's paintings, do that. If you don't, see the film Tim's Vermeer.

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