Saturday, March 8, 2014

Tim's Vermeer: Life Immitates Art

When it comes to creating, there's the magic and the craft. Tim Jenison seems to have forgotten that when he set out to recreate The Music Lesson, Johannes Vermeer's 17th-century masterpiece.

Not to take away from what he did.

Like others, Tim, a Texas tech inventor—and non-artist—was in awe of the brilliant Dutch master, arguably one of the greatest painters — ever. And, since Vermeer left no sketches, he isn't the first to question how the artist created his luminous paintings.

This led to Tim's creation of a rudimentary device that could have been used four centuries ago to, in effect, mirror an image onto canvas. Then all the "artist" had to do was to fill in the reflection, a la paint by numbers, only without the numbers.

It took about two years for Tim to complete his project, beginning with recreating the room depicted in the famous painting. And he brings viewers along for the entire project. (He even made his own paint to conform to stipulations of the time.) If that sounds tedious, it often was for Tim. But never for the moviegoer who's left wondering if Vermeer used a similar process.

But back to magic and craft. In the end Tim's Vermeer was more Musaq than music. We still don't know why the Dutchman's art is so magical. 

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