How did Vermeer splash realism on his canvas?In Tim’s Vermeer, Tim Jenison, an inventor, engineer and art enthusiast (but most certainly not a painter) sets out to copy a Vermeer using the same photographic techniques he believes the 17th Century Delft master used. Although a lot is known about Vermeer in some respects, nothing is known about him in others. A well-regarded and well-connected painter in his lifetime, today there are only 34 firm attributions (and 3 questionable ones) to his name. It’s not a fair comparison but Rembrandt, a contemporary based down the road in Amsterdam, made 50% more self-portraits during his career than Vermeer painted paintings! No one knows how he painted – his pictures offer few clues to preparatory methods and there are no drawings attributed to him – but some people have ideas. David Hockney is one, and both he and Tim Jenison thinks it’s got something to do with photography.
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