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Old 05-20-2019, 03:24 PM
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Vermeer's methods

I hope this is in the right place...
I'm reading Girl With a Pearl Earring, fantastic book, but I'm wondering how much of his techniques as referenced in the book are representative of the actual artist. (I know he used ultra marine aka lapis lazuli, very expensive!) The author describes him using a camera obscura to see the subjects he's painting as a scene.

Also the events and characters depicted in the story. Do we actually know who the girl was? Was she a hard worker maid like Griet?
I find it a fascinating subject, art in history.
At one point he asks Griet to look at the clouds and tell him what colours are there. At first she just sees grey and white. But Vermeer makes her realise the colours we see aren't always what we imagine, and she has a breakthrough moment, and she goes round looking at things, analysing the colours she can see.
A lot of poetic licence of course but how much do we know about him?
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Old 05-21-2019, 05:33 AM
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Re: Vermeer's methods

Just finished this book. Incredible, one of the best books I've read.
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Old 05-27-2019, 08:21 AM
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Re: Vermeer's methods

No comments on this? Is it in the wrong place? I'd like some thoughts on Vermeer's methods and how his world is represented in the book...
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Old 07-09-2019, 07:56 PM
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Re: Vermeer's methods

The jury seems to be still out regarding Vermeer's use of an optical device for creating his paintings, and with evidence to support both sides, actually.

I have always felt that for Vermeer to have literally "painted" by using some sort of optical device that could have been available in his day is almost nonsense.

The reason is that his projected image would have to have been so faint, and difficult to see that he would have done better "winging it".

Also, unless he employed some sort of reversing-mirror, he would have been required to paint his image upside-down, as well as flopped!

However, he most certainly could have used such a projected image for DRAWING his scene. While being quite difficult, it would have been possible.

One item that always indicates that he used an optical device SOMEWHERE in his creation of a painted image is that he includes optical aberrations that could ONLY have been apparent in an optically-projected image. For example, on a loaf of bread in his milkmaid painting (I think), he indicates very small, "circles of confusion" in the form of highlights on the sesame seeds of the bread loaf. This effect is a camera aberration, and could ONLY have come from observing the image through some sort of LENS. He may not have literally painted, or drawn from such a projected image. but he most certainly observed it well enough to have considered that optical aberration to be an actual "reality".

(A "circle of confusion" is that "doughnut-shaped circle of highlight that is always apparent when the camera is just a slight bit out of focus. Instead of being a pin-point circle of glistening, spectral highlight, it is evident as a small doughnut shaped circle of highlight, with a center of darker value, instead.)

Personally, I believe Vermeer used SOME SORT of optical device, SOMEWHERE in his creation of some of his paintings. He certainly DID employ glazes, and that is what fascinates me about his paintings.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:21 AM
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Re: Vermeer's methods

Amazing talent, Vermeer!
Here's a detailed look into research on his methods:

https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/r...-and-technique

and his life :
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Johannes-Vermeer

With regards to who the girl may be: Considering the world of Delft at that time, and that he and his wife had 11 surviving children (15 births), of whom seven were girls - I marvel that no one ever says his daughters sat for him. His paintings took an incredibly long time to create and finish. He lived in a house packed to the rafters with women, so even with a maid sitting for him, I can't imagine it being anything untoward. Vermeer accomplished so much in his very short life (died in his early 40s of stress/ worked himself/worried himself to death said his wife) - head of painter's guild, genius painter of innovative methods developed beyond what others were doing. Trivia - the austere and lovely set design in the movie? His paintings were heavily embedded with household fluff (this in a culture notorious for being fastidiously clean) - these paintings which took such a very long time to create, we know the size of the house in which he lived and worked (not that big), and we know the size of his family (huge). Says a lot about the flow and movement of the small crowd packing their lives into his house. So in this very full and very busy house - who was the young woman? Riddle indeed.

Just some thoughts.

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Old 07-12-2019, 03:33 AM
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Re: Vermeer's methods

Quote:
Originally Posted by WFMartin
One item that always indicates that he used an optical device SOMEWHERE in his creation of a painted image is that he includes optical aberrations that could ONLY have been apparent in an optically-projected image. For example, on a loaf of bread in his milkmaid painting (I think), he indicates very small, "circles of confusion" in the form of highlights on the sesame seeds of the bread loaf. This effect is a camera aberration, and could ONLY have come from observing the image through some sort of LENS. He may not have literally painted, or drawn from such a projected image. but he most certainly observed it well enough to have considered that optical aberration to be an actual "reality".

(A "circle of confusion" is that "doughnut-shaped circle of highlight that is always apparent when the camera is just a slight bit out of focus. Instead of being a pin-point circle of glistening, spectral highlight, it is evident as a small doughnut shaped circle of highlight, with a center of darker value, instead.)
Ah interesting, he incorporated bokeh into his paintings! I've never seen a real Vermeer painting yet so I won't have noticed that detail!
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:12 AM
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Re: Vermeer's methods

You were asking in your OP 'do we know who the girl is', and I mentioned in my post I've always figured it's one of his many daughters, it seems this is a thesis supported by art historians as well. Short answer, his eldest daughter Lijsbeth.

"Several authors identified the figures who appear repeatedly in his compositions as Vermeer, his wife, his gradually ageing eldest daughters Maria and Elisabeth (Lijsbeth), and even the family maid in Vermeer’s Milkmaid (the suggestion of the historian J.M. Montias and likely inspiration for Chevalier). But no one sought to address Vermeer’s use of family models in a systematic way, and some rejected the possibility altogether.

In his Art of Painting, Young Woman With a Pearl Necklace, and Girl With a Pearl Earring, scholars recognized the same beautiful young model who resembles Vermeer’s wife in earlier compositions. Maria was born around 1654 and would have been 13, 15, and 16 if the paintings in question are dated 1667, 1669, and 1670, respectively. The plainer model in Vermeer’s Girl Writing, Girl With a Guitar, and Lacemaker, who resembles Vermeer in his dated self-portraits, would have been his second daughter, Lijsbeth."

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Old 07-18-2019, 10:06 AM
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Re: Vermeer's methods

woops, I wrote the wrong name, so here's my summary correction before the detailed quote from my second post:


Vermeer's eldest daughter Maria: Girl with the Pearl Earing, Young Woman with a Pearl Necklace.
Vermeer's second eldest daughter, Lijsbeth: Girl Writing, Girl With a Guitar, and Lacemaker
Family maid: Milk Maid, and possibly Chevalier.






Quote:
Originally Posted by KolinskyRed
You were asking in your OP 'do we know who the girl is', and I mentioned in my post I've always figured it's one of his many daughters, it seems this is a thesis supported by art historians as well. Short answer, his eldest daughter Lijsbeth.

"Several authors identified the figures who appear repeatedly in his compositions as Vermeer, his wife, his gradually ageing eldest daughters Maria and Elisabeth (Lijsbeth), and even the family maid in Vermeer’s Milkmaid (the suggestion of the historian J.M. Montias and likely inspiration for Chevalier). But no one sought to address Vermeer’s use of family models in a systematic way, and some rejected the possibility altogether.

In his Art of Painting, Young Woman With a Pearl Necklace, and Girl With a Pearl Earring, scholars recognized the same beautiful young model who resembles Vermeer’s wife in earlier compositions. Maria was born around 1654 and would have been 13, 15, and 16 if the paintings in question are dated 1667, 1669, and 1670, respectively. The plainer model in Vermeer’s Girl Writing, Girl With a Guitar, and Lacemaker, who resembles Vermeer in his dated self-portraits, would have been his second daughter, Lijsbeth."

Cheers!
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:09 PM
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Yvonne Keogh Yvonne Keogh is offline
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Re: Vermeer's methods

There's an amazing documentary Tim's Vermeer that convinced me he did use an optic device. The clincher for me was when Tim used the technique and discovered a mistake Vermeer had made. I'm a believer.
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Old 10-05-2019, 05:24 PM
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Re: Vermeer's methods

Yes, WF Martin, It is nonsense since regardless of using camera obscura, was a master of painting the light.
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