Movie Review: Tim’s Vermeer

Director:  Teller

Writers Penn Penn Jillette, Teller

Stars: Tim Jenison, Penn Jillette

Tim Jenison is an interesting guy he is the founder of NewTek a software company, And he is an inventor in the film you can see some of his inventions.  And he is obsessed with Johannes Vermeer.

Now Johannes Vermeer, you’ll pardon the history lesson breaking in here, was a dutch painter known for his use of light.  Almost all of his paintings were painted in his own house in one of two rooms.  Using the same furniture and decorations multiple times.  Vermeer is known to be one of the great Dutch painters of his age.

Tim Jenison looking at Vermeer’s painting says that what he sees is a photograph made in oil over 350 years ago and he thinks he knows how Vermeer painted these pictures using a technique called camera obscura.

Tim then decides that he is going to try to duplicate a Vermeer painting by recreating the room the Vermeer used including the various pieces of furniture and decorations.  Then using the same techniques that were available to Dutch at that time grind his own lenses to make his camera obscura.  Doing this takes years, in fact in this film you see eight years of Tim Jenison’s life that he devotes to remake this painting.

To see him remake the furniture, lathing it out by hand in some cases, assembling it to match how the room looked, then hand grinding the lenses is fascinating.  Especially when you learn that Tim Jenison had to teach himself to paint.

I found this film captivating especially since I too admire Vermeer’s paintings.  While I can’t say that I agree that the technique used by Tim Jenison is what Vermeer did to get the effects that he did but it is an interesting thesis.

I give this film 4 stars out of 5 you can find this on streaming and on certain cable channels as well to buy.


4 thoughts on “Movie Review: Tim’s Vermeer

  1. In meditating on this today it has come to parallel for me the way that atheists want to take the art and beauty of the creation around them and turn it into a kind of mechanical, material thing that cannot find its origin in a divine Artist at all… I could keep going, but I’ll leave it at that.

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