A Wonderful Mystery

“There’s also this modern idea that art and technology must never meet – you know, you go to school for technology or you go to school for art, but never for both… And in the Golden Age, they were one and the same person.” —Tim Jenison

The Lioness and I closed out 2014 by watching Tim’s Vermeer, an excellent documentary about the work of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. Vermeer was known for the masterly use of light on his indoor, still-life subjects and 350 years later there is much controversy over how he did it.

The Music Lesson J. Vermeer, c.1665 Image credit: essential vermeer 2.0

The Music Lesson
J. Vermeer, c.1665
Image credit: essential vermeer 2.0

This film follows Texas inventor, Tim Jenison, in his quest to not only figure out how Vermeer created some of the earliest photo-realistic paintings, but to actually replicate a Vermeer painting. These are both lofty goals, especially when you realize that Vermeer pre-dated the invention of photography by 150 years, and that Jenison has never painted a picture before.

In 2001, Professor Philip Steadman shook up the Art World when he suggested that Vermeer used technology— a lens and camera obscura—to paint his subjects more accurately. Tim Jenison takes it a bit further by applying his own unique background from the desktop video revolution in the ’80s (he is widely considered the visionary force behind the affordable video software apps that we enjoy today) and demonstrating how it was possible for Vermeer to achieve his outstanding results.

If you are a fan of documentaries/mysteries/history I would encourage you to take the time to watch this story. It is amazing what people could do without the internet back-in-the-day and what they can do today as a result of internet technology.

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  2 comments for “A Wonderful Mystery

  1. January 5, 2015 at 1:43 PM

    We just watched this last night – fabulous for so many reasons… I love that on the Sony disc they put almost 25 minutes of really decent trailers before the film itself: now I have about five more really good films to hunt down…


    • January 5, 2015 at 2:52 PM

      I also like the trailers on the discs. We have a looong list of films to catch up with when they are on disc or streaming.

      Liked by 1 person

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