View Full Version : Even More Interesting

06-20-2014, 07:39 AM
Some people are seriously clever.


06-20-2014, 11:56 AM
While I agree this was an interesting article and applaud Mr. Jenison's skill in fabrication, obvious intelligence and tenacity, there seem to be several points made that rely on flawed observations in my opinion. The first being that Vermeers paintings look like photographs. Maybe to someone who does not paint they do. They do not look like photographs to me. They look realistic, not photographic. I also have a problem with a statement made in the article in reference to Vermeer's rendition of the back wall in the referenced painting. Mr Jenison says Vermeer's depiction looks the way it would if captured by a camera, not as it does when seen by the human eye. That may well be true, he has a great deal more technical expertise than I do, but to suggest that Vermeer could not have painted it that way without some mechanical device by saying "if you can't see it, you can't paint it." is, well, short sighted. I don't believe Salvador Dali melted any clocks and observed them change shape while he painted them. I don't think Jackson Pollack laid out gnarled, twisted masses of string and painstakingly copied them to produce his paintings. And while it could be argued that even the most abstract painting has it's beginnings in the minds eye of the artist painting it, that is not the kind of vision Mr. Jenison was talking about. The fact that an artist is free to paint something he/she does not, or cannot physically see, is one of the things that separate the art of painting from the art of photography. In comparing the photograph of Mr. Jenison's mock up of the scene with Vermeer's painting it seems to me the artist may have taken some liberties with lighting and decided not to paint exactly what he saw, especially when dealing with the tapestry covering the foreground table.

For someone who says he does not know how to paint, Mr. Jenison's version of the Vermeer is remarkable in and of itself, but even his version is different than the photograph taken of the life size model of the room he constructed and did the painting from. The yellow blouse is not the same color in his painting as it is in the photograph and the painting on the right side of the back wall is markedly different in color as well. With that said, at least to my eye "Tim's Vermeer" looks much more photographic than "Vermeer's Vermeer".

If Vermeer used some mechanical device to achieve his results such as the method Mr. Jenison used, it doesn't take anything away from my appreciation for the work he did. I believe artists will always use advances in technology to make the art they want to make. I'm just confused I guess by the whole premise of Mr. Jenison's experiment. That Vermeer's paintings look so photographic he must have used some mechanical device to produce them. That they are "350 year old photographs". I just don't see it.

06-21-2014, 02:04 AM
Hmmmm....Interesting article and opinion....

06-21-2014, 02:35 AM
Yes Jmac, it read to me that he started with the assumption and then set about proving it.

D Akey
06-21-2014, 04:14 AM
This fits in right (on the heels of? which came first I wonder) with the David Hockney documentary showing how the old artists used lenses and projection. I found Hockney's theories rather substantial, when he was taking into account the limitations of the lenses and having to piece sections together owing to the image distorting to the periphery, and seeing it in the paintings etc etc. The documentary was brilliant conceptually.

As to a photographer going to these lengths to recreate paintings in photography, reminds me quite a lot of something that's popular out here, which is where people make sets and costumes and replicate the lighting and so forth from famous paintings. I don't know whether it matters if they're exact, and it may be a little anachronistic, though they probably try to get it perfect. Reminds me of Civil War re-enactments. Why do they do that? Who knows. They're into it.

I would think this fellow's aspirations are fun and interesting as an art form in itself a bit like theater. There are lots of photographers who approximate the mood and flavor of old master paintings with anything from their daughters to their dogs. It's all fun to me and reasonable, like a cover band. Some get it exact, and some come close, and some don't quite make it.

Claims are easy to make, that's for sure. And it is what it is. Thanks for the look. Was enjoyable. And also the comments are part of that experience for me as well. That's what art's about, isn't it -- at some point it's about the relationship between the art and the viewer, sort of like speed dating.

06-21-2014, 08:05 AM
Interesting. Thanks. Sorry D but I had to rip another sentence of yours, you're better than Oscar Wild :cool:

D Akey
06-22-2014, 02:36 AM
Sorry D but I had to rip another sentence of yours, you're better than Oscar Wild :cool:

Wow. What a huge comparison, Andrea. I'm extremely flattered. Thank you. :):):):):)

06-23-2014, 08:26 AM
Thanks Fraser and DA....Very interesting indeed, viewed both Tim's and David's videos last night.
Take care all,