Vermeer: Master of Light

Vermeer: Master of Light
Vermeer: Master of Light is a short series of videos from the National Gallery of Art in Washington that explores some aspects of Vermeer’s paintings, like composition, color and diffuse edges, that are characteristic of his work and make a Vermeer a Vermeer.

The series can be accessed on ArtBabble.

There are five episodes, plus a compilation that puts them together as one 20 minute video. Each features curators from the National Gallery discussing one of the museum’s Vermeers in terms of a particular aspect of the master’s approach.

You may want to start with The Music Lesson, Part 2 (second pair of images, above), lest you be initially put off by the drier analysis of Woman Holding a Balance, Part 1 (first pair of images, above).

I found it interesting in a discussion of elements that make a work characteristic of Vermeer, that the episode Girl with the Red Hat: Part 3 (third set of images, above) skips any mention of the fact that attribution of the painting to Vermeer has been questioned.

Camera Obscura, Part 4 offers a brief look at Vermeer’s use of the optical device as an aid in seeing.

Woman Writing a Letter, Part 5 (bottom pair of images, above) delves into Vermeer as a master of suggestion, creating the illusion that there is more than he has actually presented, as well as examining his use and mastery of diffuse edges.

The presentation itself is too brief, leaving you wanting more. You can do a search on ArtBabble for other video productions from the National Gallery, or plow into the overall resources there, either by searching or through their indexes of Series, Channels, Artists or Partners.

ArtBabble, as I mentioned in a previous post, is a terrific resource of videos about art, examining and discussing art in a number of categories.. Their motto is “Play Art Loud”.

If you are hungry for more Vermeer, you can spend hours on Jonathan Janson’s amazing resource Essential Vermeer.


4 Replies to “Vermeer: Master of Light

  1. I’m assuming you’ll be cleaning up the mess in aisle 1, butI want to thank you again for bringing something really special to the blogosphere. I have no idea how you find the time to do this sort of thing, but you deserve more compliments than you get.

    No matter the tool (camera obscura), it doesn’t make the artist, and I have always admired Vermeer for what isn’t in his paintings (but is) which makes them what they are.

  2. Love Vermeer, hope to see one one day. I’m sure like all art it’s incredible to stand before one. Watched the video of “Women Writing a Letter” so far, fascinating to learn of the line along her arm painted in by an earlier conservator then later removed.

    My only regret is that such a fabulous artist painted so few in his short life time, around 30, 35 paintings or so I think.

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