Tim's Vermeer (2014)
Critic Consensus: Entertaining and profound in equal measure, Tim's Vermeer uses its seemingly esoteric subject to pose fascinating questions about art and obsession.
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Critic Reviews for Tim's Vermeer
Tim's Vermeer refers not just to the replica Vermeer he seeks to paint, but to his understanding of who Vermeer was and how he accomplished his work.
Perhaps the ultimate take-away from Tim's Vermeer is the unquenchable curiosity of certain people, albeit those with the money to finance that inquisitiveness, to get to the bottom of history's mysteries. In that respect, Jenison is an artist.
The lengths to which Jenison goes to ensure he is working with the same tools, limitations and liberties that were available to Vermeer are nothing short of gobsmacking.
What it turns out to actually be about is Tim Jenison, and what it means to be a member of the new (techno) rich in the United States of the 21st Century.
Tim's Vermeer is both enjoyable as entertainment and as an intelligently mounted case study of how art and technology complement, rather than grind against, each other. As Penn eloquently puts it: "The problem is we make that distinction."
Audience Reviews for Tim's Vermeer
Tim's Vermeer is the study of how a non-artist could construct a masterpiece. For most of the film we watch as Tim attempts to copy The Music Lesson. His pursuit occurs over several months. Only a very rich man with deep pockets could possibly endeavor such a colossal undertaking of time and money. At times the experiment is almost like watching paint dry, and the chronicle even acknowledges this. Yet the results are astonishing nevertheless. One might suggest that his findings negate Vermeer's accomplishments. I found quite the opposite. Assuming this is how Vermeer worked, it re-enforces how difficult it was to create his compositions. Tim's Vermeer is something I'd recommend to anyone with an appreciation for Baroque painting. It probably plays more like a special on public television than as a theatrical movie, but as far as this art history buff is concerned, I was transfixed.
'Tim's Vermeer'. One man's curiosity and capacity for obsession detailed in a painstakingly entertaining way. Who says art and technology are at opposite ends of the spectrum?
Seeing the months it took, I really what drove Vermeer, or what drove anyone of that era to create paintings like they did?
As an inventor and special effects innovator, Tim Jenison probably deserves having a documentary made about him just on those criteria alone. But it is his investigation into 17th century painter Johannes Vermeer who was renowned for photographic like realism in his paintings that is of interest in the fascinating and entertaining documentary "Tim's Vermeer" from Penn & Teller.
Due to not wanting contemporaries stealing ideas from him(and probably also to mess with future art historians), Vermeer left behind no notes on his methods. However, certain art historians have theorized that he created his famous paintings with mirrors, or more precisely a camera obscura. That's where Tim Jenison comes into the picture and the documentary by using his engineering expertise to recreate the conditions necessary, first on a copy of a modern photograph of his father-in-law(signed with a black felt tip pen, no less), followed by a reconstruction of one of Vermeer's paintings with a little help from some of the most patient family imaginable.(To be honest, I do suspect there was a little horsetrading involved.)
Not only does all of which not take away from the magic of the paintings, but actually puts us all in awe of the painstaking tasks it took to create such great art. This was at a time when Vermeer had to create all of the geometry of his setup from scratch.
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