First Hit: An amazing film about an intelligent quirky guy who has come up with a plausible story for the amazing light and detail in Vermeer’s paintings.
I left the theater wanting to paint the way Tim Jenison learned to paint. Tim is an inventor and has invented many things having to do with optics.
His inventions are used in television and films. He’s smart, focused, and extremely pragmatic. Tim was always fascinated by Vermeer paintings because they are so realistic and are almost camera like in quality. Their shadows, details, and proportions are all amazingly lifelike.
While researching this he reads a couple of books that suggest that Vermeer used some sort of technology to assist him in painting his artwork. Tim gets hooked on the idea of figuring this out and after he discovers the different use of a mirror, he amazingly paints a picture of his father with alarming accuracy and having never painted before in his life.
To attack painting a Vermeer he recreates Vermeer’s second floor room – the result of his experience after years of work was absolutely remarkable.
Tim Jenison was just so much fun to watch, especially how he dealt with this long, enduring, and rewarding task. Interviews with Penn Jillette, Martin Mull, David Hockney, Colin Blakemore were perfect. Teller directed this effort with deftness while combining humor, science, and shear focus.
Overall: After seeing this film, I’m convinced that Vermeer used technology to assist him in his paintings but it also adds to his brilliance.