First Trailer for Teller's Art Doc 'Tim's Vermeer' Starring Tim Jenison
by Alex Billington
December 24, 2013
"I'm proposing an alternate history of Vermeer." Sony Pictures Classics has finally debuted the trailer for one of my favorite documentaries of 2013, Tim's Vermeer, the directorial debut of Teller, one half of the entertainment duo Penn & Teller. The two introduce us to the entrepreneur/artist/inventor Tim Jenison, documenting the many years he spent attempting to debunk the great mystery of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. He invents a device which he believes is similar to the device used by Vermeer to paint his very detailed paintings in the 1700s. It's a very fun and fascinating doc that comes highly recommended. Enjoy!
In Tim's Vermeer we meet Tim Jenison, a Texas based inventor (LightWave) who attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all art: How did 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer manage to paint so photo-realistically - 150 years before the invention of photography? The epic research project Jenison embarks on to test his theory is as extraordinary as what he discovers. The documentary is directed by Teller, produced by Penn Jillette, and first premiered at the Telluride & Toronto Film Festivals this fall. Read my glowing review from Telluride. The doc is in the running for Best Documentary at the Oscars. Tim's Vermeer will hit limited theaters December 6th and later in early 2014. Read Alex's review from Telluride.
Reader Feedback - 5 Comments
I saw Hockney's documentary a while back and loved the science in that, this looks on the same level. Will definitely be looking this one out. What was cool about the Hockney one was how secretive the painters were about the technology they had, also that the methods they use are still good painting techniques today. Bonus.
Carpola on Dec 24, 2013
Painters were like ninjas it seems Alex! Hidden skills. Always love to hear about how images were created and the process, often it's more exciting than the final product. One documentary I watched this year that I was blown away by was Everybody Street by Cheryl Dunn, it's about Street photography in New York, you should definitely look it up.
Carpola on Dec 24, 2013
It's interesting because it does possibly give us an understanding of how optical devices could have been used by Vermeer. There's good evidence to suggest he did. The problem is that a lot of people who see this automatically assume this is the big "secret" to all realistic painting. There are plenty of artists throughout history who painted realistically without the use of any such optics. I attended The Florence Academy of Art which is one of several schools that still teach classical drawing and painting techniques. We don't use optical devices. There isn't anything wrong with using these tools but the idea that optics are the "secret" of good painting tends to undermine the training and ability to see that artists have. Here's just a few realistic painting schools and artists working today. my site: http://www.michaeldevore.net/ http://www.florenceacademyofart.com/ http://www.angelartschool.com/ http://www.grandcentralacademy.org/ http://davidleffel.com/ http://www.lipking.com/
Michael DeVore on Dec 25, 2013
Seems with painting there are hundreds of techniques to create a similar image, that has always been an interesting part of it. In the modern age with projectors and photoshop things have changed again, but I've saw artists come unstuck when they didn't have the 'box of trick's'. It seems that the art historians are the ones who get upset about the methods of the artists, preferring to liken them to magicians. Always with painting the final image is the most important part of it, not how it was created. There is no cheating if the final work looks good, at least in studio based work. Not sure if you've watched any of Kim Jung Gi's drawing demos, his line work is incredible. Also for realistic painting that isn't too clean, I would recommend Kent Williams http://www.kentwilliams.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGjGhU2o7sQ
Carpola on Dec 26, 2013
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