BBC Culture

Talking Movies

Could anyone paint a Vermeer?

A new documentary centres on an inventor and his claims that Vermeer relied more on tricks and technology than artistic talent to create his famous works. Tom Brook reports.

Inventor Tim Jenison is the focus of the new documentary Tim’s Vermeer. His mission: to prove that a Vermeer masterpiece could be created by an amateur like himself.

In the film Tim Jenison uses technology to recreate the master’s painting The Music Lesson − it’s an experiment that could show that Vermeer relied on fancy tools rather than artistic genius.

The movie is a collaboration from magic act Penn (who narrates) and Teller (who directs). They raise interesting questions about Vermeer’s purported use of a camera obscura, lenses and mirrors – and what impact this has on our view of Vermeer’s artistic merit.

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