10-31-2013, 12:21 PM
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Famous Dutch painter Jan Vermeer was born on this date in 1632. There has been great controversy about his possible use of optical aids in planning and executing some of his painted scenes.

It started about a dozen years ago when Philip Steadman's book, Vermeer's Camera, was published about 17th century optical instruments, chiefly the camera obscura, being used by Vermeer and possibly other Dutch artists to obtain perfect perspective in their work. An exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Delft art in the time of Vermeer even displayed a camera obscura, a lens that projects an upside-down image in a dark room. The point made was that Vermeer probably traced the image to obtain greater accuracy in his paintings of interior scenes with one or more people in them.

Then David Hockney published his book Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters, in which he claimed that artists as early as the 1420s, particularly Flemish master Jan van Eyck, used optical devices to help them produce more realistic images. It is known that from that century on, Western art was decidedly more naturalistic.


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 10-31-2013, 12:25 PM
  • freddy
  • Banned
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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Very interesting, John.

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 10-31-2013, 12:59 PM
  • Agravic
  • Emeritus
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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Thanks for sharing, John. I remember seeing a documentary about this awhile back ... fascinating what was accomplished by Vermeer, considering it was hundreds of years ago!

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 10-31-2013, 08:36 PM
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Great history lesson, John! Thanks for sharing.
He did have some beautiful paintings.

90 21,253
 11-01-2013, 05:45 AM
  • jcmy53
  • Senior Member
  • Cincinnati, OH
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I had the privilege of seeing the painting "Girl with a Pearl Earring" in Atlanta this summer. Beautiful work. I can also recommend the movie of the same name starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson. There's also a great website dedicated to Vermeer, http://www.essentialvermeer.com.

[Image: vcDpfLT.jpg]


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 11-01-2013, 10:04 AM
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I was lucky enough to see some original Vermeer paintings in person here at our local art museum a few years ago. They were incredible.

Honestly, even if he used a camera obscura to set his proportions, his mastery of composition, light and color were still amazing.

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 12-10-2013, 10:43 PM
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And here is the latest chapter in this saga. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie.

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