The Vienna Art of Painting exhibition detail

November 23rd, 2009

Regarding the upcoming Art of Painting special exhibition in Vienna (25 January – 25 April 2010), I have been kindly informed that the organisers have created a 1:1  3D reconstruction of Vermeer’s masterpiece following the drawings of the London architect and Vermeer/camera obscura expert, Philip Steadman.  A large camera obscura was subsequently employed to obtain  images. Some photos of the camera obscura images  will be included in the exhibition.

Most any Vermeer enthusiast will remember Steadman’s carefully-researched and much-discussed book (Vermeer’s Camera: Uncovering the Truth Behind the Masterpieces) on Vermeer’s use of the camera obscura (a sort of 17th-century precursor of the modern photographic camera). The dust still has not completely settled  dividing Vermeer notables into two camps. Since The Art of Painting is said by many to present some of the peculiar visual qualities which are characteristic of the image produced by the camera obscura, this part of the exhibition may be useful to those who those who seek visual evidence in regards to the issue.

I have always enjoyed, but more importantly,  learned, something more from small-scale exhibitions with a clear focus more than blockbuster overviews which tend to overwhelm someone like myself who can at best absorb one painting at at time (perhaps a professional deformation stemming from the habit of painting only one painting at a time) .  See,  for example,  the excellent  Milkmaid exhibit currently at the MET.

The Art of Painting exhibit seems to be shaping  up nicely. All I need now is some some cash that falls off a tree for a round-trip ticket and lodging.

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