A revisited trip to Delft because of a man with an obsession .
When I visited the Netherlands one of my favorite stops was Delft, for the city , but especially to visit the places where the painter Vermeer lived and I even went to the small local museum and had time to sight the facade of the house where he painted some of his most famous masterpieces . Not to mention the famosso Rijskmuseum where I was delighted for hours with the large pictorial works of the Dutch masters, him included.
And for those who do not know , Johannes Vermeer has been the subject of heated academic and artistic discussions over the years because of the almost inexplicable and mysterious hyperrealism of his paintings. The question many ask is how did Vermeer to achieved that kind of perfection in the seventeenth century ? Philip Steadman professor of architecture and the artist David Hockney argued that the accuracy of some of the details of his paintings stemmed from some sort of camera obscura, or large optical equipment that allowed him access to the smallest details in order to create some of his famous domestic scenes, yet were only theories until recently .
Interestingly, a few days ago I came across an insightful and curious interview abput a documentary called " Tim's Vermeer" , about an American, Tim Jenison , inventor and entrepreneur driven by a passion for the works of the Dutch artist, coupled with his natural curiosity and obsessive persistence he discovered the answer to the unusual method of Vermeer : a lens and a small angle mirros, that is, the lens focuses the scene intended to be painted, but eventually the reflection is inversed, upside Down, then a small mirror near the face of the artist flips back the image with the desired accuracy . Eureka ! And in hindsight did we really needed to known how? Does this discovery somehow takes the away the merit of the artist ? It is up to each of us to answer this question as it feels like it, to me, the simple answer is no! When we looked for any masterpiece of painting, regardless of the author , we were fascinated by the almost supernatural beauty of the canvas, some of the paintings almost touch the divine, at least in the eyes of a mere mortal, as is my case.
However, if you think about it , they did not result only from a tear of genius, behind each one of them are many hours of study and work . The fact that Vermeer had used a subterfuge to improve its work in nothing decreases its value, on the contrary , the colors , the way the light is captured, the framing result from his personal interpretation and a daily effort almost as relentless as the Jenison . It is true that ends with a certain romantic notion of genius , but as a teacher of mine used to say in college , 10 % is talent, and the remaining 90 % is a lot of sweat . Now, the next time I revisit Amsterdam, I will look at the "milkmaid " or " the music lesson " with another entirely new regard.