Vermeer: Master of Light (COMPLETE Documentary) [No Ads]

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Rembrandt vs Vermeer: The Titans of Dutch Painting

Want to join the debate? Check out the Intelligence Squared website to hear about future live events and podcasts: http://www.intelligencesquared.com __________________________ Filmed at the Royal Geographical Society on 15th October 2014. Rembrandt van Rijn is the best known of all the Dutch masters. His range was vast, from landscapes to portraits to Biblical scenes; he revolutionised every medium he handled, from oil paintings to etchings and drawings. His vision encompassed every element of life – the sleeping lion; the pissing baby; the lacerated soles of the returned prodigal son. Making the case for him in this debate will be Simon Schama. For him Rembrandt is humanity unedited: rough, raw, violent, manic, vain, greedy and manipulative. Formal beauty was the least of his concerns, argues Schama, yet he attains beauty through his understanding of the human condition, including to be sure, his own. But for novelist Tracy Chevalier it can all get a little exhausting. Rembrandt’s paintings, she believes – even those that are not his celebrated self-portraits – are all about himself. Championing Vermeer, she will claim that his charm lies in the very fact that he absents himself from his paintings. As a result they are less didactic and more magical than Rembrandt’s, giving the viewer room to breathe. Chevalier has been obsessed with Vermeer since the age of 19, when she first saw his Girl with a Pearl Earring. The girl’s startled eyes and luscious, inviting mouth produce a tantalising sense of mystery and contradiction. An other-worldly mystery also veils Vermeer’s Delft street scenes and interiors. Apparently so everyday, they are lifted to a higher sphere by the indirect gaze and the turned back, all bathed in that fuzzy, filmic Vermeer veneer. And so often they, too, ask a question. Who wrote the letter that the woman in blue reads so attentively? Who does the girl in the gold jacket strum her guitar for? The questions are never answered but we are lured back again and again in search of an answer. Image credits: "Allegory of the Catholic Faith" (c. 1670-1672), by Johannes Vermeer. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931 (www.metmuseum.org) "Christ on the Cross" (1631), by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. Parish Church, Le Mas d'Angenais, France "A Woman bathing in a Stream (Hendrickje Stoffels?)" (1654), by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. © The National Gallery, London "Portrait of Margaretha de Geer", Wife of Jacob Trip (c. 1661), by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. © The National Gallery, London "View of Delft" (c. 1660-1661), by Johannes Vermeer. Mauritshuis, The Hague "A View of Delft after the Explosion of 1654" (1654), by Egbert van der Poel. © The National Gallery, London "The Night Watch" (1642), by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam "Self-Portrait with Two Circles" (c. 1659-60), by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. © English Heritage "The Procuress" (1656), by Johannes Vermeer. © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, Gemäldegalerie, Alte Meister "The Jewish Bride" (1665-1669), by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. © Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam "Woman Sitting Half-Dressed beside a Stove" (1658), by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Rogers Fund, 1918 (www.metmuseum.org) "The Guitar Player" (c. 1670-72) by Johannes Vermeer. © English Heritage "The Art of Painting" (c. 1665-68), by Johannes Vermeer. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien "The Milkmaid" (c. 1657-58), by Johannes Vermeer. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam "Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window" (c. 1657–59) by Johannes Vermeer. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam "Girl with a Pearl Earring" (1665), by Johannes Vermeer. Mauritshuis, The Hague "Olga with Pearl Earring" (2010), by Flickr user "David Blackwell.". (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilestreetlife) "The girl with the pearl earring" (2008) by Flickr user "Plutone (NL)". (http://www.flickr.com/photos/plutone) "Girl with a Pearl Earring" (2012), by Flickr user "Susan LeBlanc". (http://www.flickr.com/photos/basselope_hill)

PBS Cezanne in Provence

2/4 The madness of Vermeer - Secret Lives of the Artists

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLM4S2hGZDSE6iQg7WyttFs4IcQ-NbhHtk First broadcast: 2003. Johannes Vermeer is one of our favourite painters, with his Girl with a Pearl Earring now deemed the 'Mona Lisa of the North'. But little is known about his life and for almost two centuries he was lost to obscurity. Andrew Graham-Dixon, travelling to Vermeer's hometown of Delft and a dramatic Dutch landscape of huge skies and windmills, embarks on a detective trail to uncover the life of a genius in hiding. Renowned for painting calm and beautiful interiors, the real life of Vermeer was marred by crime and violence. His life was a bid to escape the privations of his family and yet even a glamorous marriage and artistic success failed to save him from the fate he dreaded more than any other.

The Mysteries of Hieronymus Bosch

Interpretations of Bosch's paintings have been varied and extreme: heresy, alchemy, drugs, witchcraft and, the most popular, that he was a member of a secret sect which practised orgies. Nicholas Baum , who has been fascinated by these haunting paintings for many years, began his investigation in the belief that we would never know their full meaning. After a journey which took him to Holland, Spain. and Portugal, he is convinced that he has found the key Documentary 1980 Paintings: The Garden of Earthly Delights, The Last Judgment, The Adoration of Maggi, The Haywain Triptych, Cutting the stone, The Temptation of St Anthony

A fantastic 2001 documentary, with a huge chunk exploring Vermeer's compositional methods and techniques. Narrated by Meryl Streep

My rebuttal to Tim's Vermeer:

It's obvious that Vermeer played around with a camera obscura, but the more likely explanation is that he became so familiar with its optical distortion that he 'became' a camera obscura (he adopted its way of seeing as his aesthetic). The placement of his pointillist highlights on the bread in the Milkmaid (for example) is like a how a camera obscura would place highlights on a highly reflective object, but NEVER a loaf of bread. He placed them there because he was creating it in his imagination to look how shinier objects would look through a camera obscura, because he consciously enjoyed the effect of it and created it thus.

If Vermeer were dependent on a bulky optical device he would never have painted the View of Delft -- a massive outdoor landscape scene that was certainly created at home. It was generally impossible before the advent of tubed paint to work alla prima outside, and if the camera obscura were a trade secret he would have never have risked using it in public. Vermeer worked it up (along with the 'Little Street') from drawings and returned to the studio to make it.

Vermeer painted all of his interiors in the same room of his small house in Delft, yet the windows, the floor, the walls etc. always look different. Why? Because he was creating them in his head to look like a camera obscura, but not slavishly with a camera obscura.

Finally, X rays of Vermeer's paintings show that he reworked the placement of things over and over -- meaning he was building from imagination, not directly from an optical device.

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