I read a post today on The Painter’s Keys that really got me going. It concerned a film called Tim’s Vemeer. It seems that a man named Tim, a man with no artist training at all, decided that he could reproduce a Vermeer and the process was filmed. I got a little fired up about the post and I burned up the keys on my keyboard writing the following reply.
I’m sorry, but I don’t see anything that even remotely looks like a Vermeer in Tim’s painting. As one person stated, he was trying avoid making an exact copy to avoid the the label of forgery, but I don’t buy that at all. Plenty of things could have been changed to avoid that, such as size. The original is about 29×25 inches, so Tim could have done a copy of about 24×20 inches. He could have done a mirror image painting being as how he was working from a photo in the first place.
Quite obviously there are a lot of problems with the painting that have already been brought up, such as the back of the dress of the woman, the position of the man’s hands, the lighting, the colors, the floor and more. I mean, look at the fringe on the tapestry that is draped over the table in the Vermeer. It looks like Vermeer spent considerable time to get that fringe to look just right. Tim’s looks like he got bored and just painted in the fringe as fast as he could, just to get it finished.
David Hockney can swoon all over Tim’s painting all he wants, but I’ve never had much respect for Hockney and his hack conclusions that are now being taught at the college level in art history classes. And Tim’s remark that an artist can not see the fall off of light on a wall as the light comes in through a window and then fades across the wall, that was just pure hogwash. Almost any artist with any amount of experience can see light gradations like that and those that can’t see it at first, can see it very quickly with a little bit of teaching from another artist. And you don’t need a photograph to see it, you just need to open your eyes.
This post has set my teeth to grinding and people like Hockney are the reason for this. It is just another attempt from the “modern art” crowd to try to tear down the work of the masters, to try to say that what they accomplished wasn’t all that magical and special.
I had a conversation with another artist a couple of years ago and we were discussing the use of tracing and we came to the conclusion that, even if you sat a novice down with a Di Vinci drawing and a light table, they still wouldn’t be able to make a copy that would look anything like the original. Tim would have had a better chance at his quest if he had had a giclee made of The Music Lesson and then painted over the top of that, but I’m pretty sure he would come up short in that attempt, too.
Sorry Tim. Your copy looks about like the effort of a first year high school art student and it looks nothing like a Vermeer.