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kottke.org posts about Johannes Vermeer

The Girl with a Schmeared Earring

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 24, 2020

Girl with the Schmeared Earring

From Joseph Lee, a super abstract rendition of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. Another one for my collection of GPE remixes.

Previously from kottke.org on Joseph Lee’s work: Ultra-Impressionistic Portraits Made with Just a Few Thick Strokes of Paint.

Corn with a Pearl Earring

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 21, 2020

Corn with a Pearl Earring

From artist Nanan Kang, Corn with a Pearl Earring. I have a bit of a thing for riffs on Vermeer’s masterpiece. See also Girl with a Pearl Earring and Point-and-Shoot Camera, The Girl with the Grande Iced Latte, Rihanna with a Pearl Earring, Girl with a Pearl Earring at the beach, and a Lego version of the painting. (via colossal)

Update: This is fun (courtesy of @jschulenklopper):

In Dutch (Vermeer’s native language) this one is even better. The original painting is called “Meisje met de parel” in Dutch, and corn is “mais”. So this one could be named “Maisje met de parel” which is pronounced almost identically.

A New Old Vermeer

posted by Jason Kottke   May 17, 2019

The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden is restoring a painting by Johannes Vermeer after it was “conclusively determined” that part of it was painted over after Vermeer died.

For more than 250 years now, the famous painting by Johannes Vermeer featuring a profile depiction of a girl intently reading a letter in front of a light-coloured empty wall has held a firm place among the masterpieces in the Dresden Gemäldegalerie. This picture, which dates to around 1657/59, is regarded as one of the earliest interior paintings by Vermeer with a solitary figure. Previous x-ray examinations indicated that a picture of a naked Cupid in the painting had been overpainted. Today, new laboratory tests have conclusively determined that the overpainting was not by Vermeer’s hand. On this basis, the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister decided in the course of the current restoration of the work to remove the overpaint.

The restoration of Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window is not totally complete, here’s what it looks like now:

Vermeer Cupid

And what it looked like before the restoration started:

Vermeer Cupid

The partially restored painting will be on display at the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden until June 16, after which they will take another year to complete the painstaking restoration.

Why The Night Watch Is Rembrandt’s Masterpiece

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 02, 2018

Ok folks, it’s time for some game theor- I mean, art history. In this video, Evan Puschak explains what makes Rembrandt’s The Night Watch so compelling from both a historical and artistic perspective.

Rembrandt Night Watch

When I was in Amsterdam last year, I saw The Night Watch at the Rijksmuseum. As Puschak notes, it’s an impressive painting — for one thing, it’s more than 12 feet tall and weighs more than 740 pounds. However, I was even more keen on a nearby early self-portrait though.

Rembrandt Self Portrait 1628

Rembrandt painted this when he was 22 and while it lacks the subtle mastery of his later work, I couldn’t stop staring at it and kept looping back for one more view. If you look at a larger view of the painting, you can see where Rembrandt used the butt of his brush to scratch the wet paint to accentuate his curly hair. Something about seeing those tiny canyons on the canvas…I could almost see the young artist standing right where I was, flipping his brush around to scrape those marks before the paint dried, making his dent in the universe.

P.S. My absolute favorite piece at the Rijksmuseum was Vermeer’s The Milkmaid. Holy moly, what a painting.

Vermeer and authenticity

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 10, 2014

In the first two installments of a series about artistic authenticity, Rex Sorgatz writes about five different people’s efforts to own a Vermeer and how you can get your very own masterpiece.

It’s possible that Vermeer — an artist who many consider the greatest painter of all time — could paint with no more acuity than you or me. Vermeer may have been a simple technologist — but a technologist who could recreate the world with scintillating photographic intensity, centuries before photography was invented, which might actually be a bigger deal than being a good painter.

I loved these articles. I wish I would have written them…I am fascinated with both Vermeer and art forgeries. Good stuff.

Tim’s Vermeer

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 22, 2014

It’s been suggested that perhaps Johannes Vermeer painted his exacting masterpieces with the help of mirrors and lenses. Tim Jenison learned of these suggestions and started to study the problem.

He was in no rush. His R&D period lasted five years. He went to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. “Looking at their Vermeers,” he says, “I had an epiphany” — the first of several. “The photographic tone is what jumped out at me. Why was Vermeer so realistic? Because he got the values right,” meaning the color values. “Vermeer got it right in ways that the eye couldn’t see. It looked to me like Vermeer was painting in a way that was impossible. I jumped into studying art.”

A recent documentary called Tim’s Vermeer (directed by Penn & Teller’s Teller) follows Jenison’s quest to construct a contraption that allows someone to paint as Vermeer did. Here’s a trailer:

Not sure you can find the movie in theaters anymore, but it should be out on DVD/download soon.

Girl with a Pearl Earring and Point-and-Shoot Camera

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 18, 2012

This forgotten Vermeer has been floating around for a few months but I just saw it. Love it:

Girl Pearl Earring Camera

Anyone know who did this? I spent a few minutes trying to find out but got dead-ended in a Tumblr/Imgur attribution black hole. (via ★ryanvlower)

Update: The creator of the image is supposedly Mitchell Grafton, although I couldn’t find any airtight attribution. (thx, all)

More on van Meegeran by Errol Morris

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 18, 2009

Errol Morris follows up on his recent series about Dutch forger Han van Meegeren by addressing some of the comments he received. Here’s Morris on the interaction of historical research and modern content management techniques.

The first version of the Time article that I saw was the “electronic” version from the Web. It is particularly strange, if only because the text (from 1947) is surrounded by modern information, including contemporary advertisements for Liberty Mutual, teeth whitening preparations, wrinkle-cream, and most e-mailed articles. Emmy Göring and Henriette von Schirach complaints are directly adjacent to “Will Twitter Change the Way We Live.”

I also enjoyed the discussion of “Hitler-soup” at the end.

Errol Morris series finished up

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 05, 2009

Over on his NY Times blog, Errol Morris finishes up his excellent seven-part series on Vermeer forger Han van Meegeren. Here are the links to all seven parts: one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven.

Finding the present in the past

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 01, 2009

From part three of Errol Morris’ investigation into Dutch forger Han Van Meegeren, here’s art historian Jonathan Lopez:

Forgery is about the way the present looks at the past. The best forgeries may imitate the style of a long dead artist, but to appeal to people at the moment that they’re being tricked, forgeries must also incorporate some of the aesthetic prejudices of the moment. When fakes work well, they give us a vision of the past that seems hauntingly up to date. And that’s one of the things that makes forgery so seductive.

Errol Morris on art forgeries

posted by Jason Kottke   May 28, 2009

Errol Morris posted the first part of a seven-part series of posts about Han van Meegeren, art forger extraordinaire.

To be sure, the Van Meegeren story raises many, many questions. Among them: what makes a work of art great? Is it the signature of (or attribution to) an acknowledged master? Is it just a name? Or is it a name implying a provenance? With a photograph we may be interested in the photographer but also in what the photograph is of. With a painting this is often turned around, we may be interested in what the painting is of, but we are primarily interested in the question: who made it? Who held a brush to canvas and painted it? Whether it is the work of an acclaimed master like Vermeer or a duplicitous forger like Van Meegeren — we want to know more.

Morris ends the post with a cliffhanger that, if I didn’t know any better, was written specifically for me: “The Uncanny Valley.”

Update: Part two has been posted.