Archive for the ‘Vermeer: Digital Imagery & WWW’ Category

Mauritshuis reopens on June 27, 2014

June 17th, 2014

View of Delft, Johannes Vermeer

Mauritshuis Opening on 27 June 2014

The Mauritshuis will open its doors on Friday 27 June 2014 after a two-year renovation.

The world famous painting collection, including three paintings by Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, The View of Delft and Diana and her Companions, will once again be displayed in the fully renovated and expanded Mauritshuis. After a celebratory opening, the museum will be open to the public for visit free of charge until midnight. The renovated Mauritshuis doubles its surface with an underground expansion into a building on the other side of the street. Still, little about the character of the museum will change. The appearance and unique homely atmosphere are preserved, thanks to the design of Hans van Heeswijk architects. The most obvious change is the relocation of the main entrance to the forecourt. Visitors will descend via the stairs or lift to a light foyer, connecting ‘old’ and ‘new’ underground. The new part, the Royal Dutch Shell Wing, will house the exhibition space, the brasserie and the museum shop. Furthermore, it will accommodate the educational Art Workshop, a library, and event rooms.

The museum has also rennovated its website and has added new high-resolution image is their Vermeer’s paintings which can be veiwed with a zoom feature or downloaded to one’s hard disk. The downloadable images are lower resolution than the zoom versions.

zoom features:
Girl with a Pearl Earring
View of Delft
Diana and her Compantions

Girl with a Pearl Earring
View of Delft
Diana and her Compantions

Korte Vijverberg 8
2513 AB The Hague
P.O. Box 536
2501 CM The Hague

Getty Loosens digital image policy

September 7th, 2013

As is enevitable, image-rights policies of art institutions continue to loosen up.

The Getty President Jim Cuno announced in a post on The Iris that it is lifting restrictions on the use of images to which the Getty holds all the rights or are in the public domain.

“As of today, the Getty makes available, without charge, all available digital images to which the Getty holds all the rights or that are in the public domain to be used for any purpose,” wrote Cuno, citing the new program.

Approximately 4,600 images of paintings, drawings, manuscripts, photographs, antiquities and sculpture and decorative arts from the J. Paul Getty Museum will available in high resolution on the Getty’s website for use without restriction. Other images will be added until all Getty-owned or public domain images are available, without restrictions, online.

Art buffs should not miss the delightful Dutch paintings in the Getty Collection. Links to a few are posted below. To download the hi-res image, click on the “download” link directly under the thumbnail image of each painting.

The Music Lesson by Gerrit ter Borch

Pictura (An Allegory of Painting) by Frans van Mieris

Head of a Woman
by Michael Sweerts

Double Portrait
by Michael Sweerts

A Woman Preparing Bread and Butter for a Boy
by Pieter de Hooch

My favorite is, however, Hendrick ter Brugghen’s Bacchante and Ape (6534 x 7548 pixels!)

Beware, Ter Brugghen’s technique is so utterly efficient that ipainting look easy. Even with 40+ years of easel paint under my belt, it is still a discouraging painting to look at it. Sometimes I envy art historians.

Vermeer and Technique: a National Gallery web study

September 1st, 2013

Click here to discover the techniques and materials behind four of Vermeer’s music-themed paintings on display in the exhibition Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure.

Illuminating and richly illustrated. All articles are authored by the National Gallery’s Helen Howard, Scientific Officer – Microscopist; David Peggie, Scientific Officer – Organic Analyst; and Rachel Billinge, Research Associate in the Conservation department.

Topics include:

Support and ground
Infrared examination
Vermeer’s palette
Binding medium
Paint application
Secrets of the studio
Altered appearance of ultramarine
Fading of yellow and red lake pigments
Drying and paint defects
Formation of lead and zinc soaps

from the National Gallery website:
The extended loan of Vermeer’s The Guitar Player from Kenwood House enabled National Gallery researchers to analyse the painting’s materials and closely study the techniques used. The findings were compared with other late paintings by Vermeer in the National Gallery (A Young Woman Seated at a Virginal and A Young Woman Standing at a Virginal), and a slightly earlier work (The Music Lesson) kindly lent by the Royal Collection for the National Gallery’s 2013 summer exhibition Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure.


Two Hi-Res images of Vermeer Paintings

September 1st, 2013

For hi-res buffs who need a fix and scholars who need more than something than the same old printed images to go on, two new hi-res images of Vermeer paintings are now available on the net. The Guitar Player, which also can be viewed with the IIPMooViewer at the National Gallery website, is now entirely downloadable at Wikipedia. Click here. The images is a whopping 3,691 × 4,226 pixels. Examine the bizarre calligraphic touches of the gilt frame and the sound hole of the guitar: Vermeer at his best, at least for a painter like myself. For the curious, along the upper edge of the painting there are two fingerprints: whose?

The second hi-res image, A Lady Writing a letter with her Maid, is tucked away on the National Gallery of Ireland website and, unfortunately, cannot be downloaded like The Guitar Player. Click here to view it 750 x 350 pixels at a time at with the ubiquitous  Zoomify interface.

New Hi-Res Vermeer Images

August 2nd, 2013
detail of Johannes Vermeer's Music Lesson

After a long vacation from Italy and my computer (I never vacation from Vermeer), there is lots of catching up to do. Here’s a start for digital image fans.

In conjunction with the current Vermeer exhibition Vermeer & Music: The Art of Love & Leisure, the National Gallery has published super hi-res images of the 4 authentic Vermeers which you can access by clicking here. The Lady Standing at the Virginal, the Lady Standing at the Virginal and the Guitar Player are somewhat larger than those already on the gallery’s website but the Music Lesson is by far the best digital image of the picture now publicly available (Google’s scan of the picture is downright horrible). Also included are x-ray images of the NG works. All the images are exceptionally detailed but decidedly low in contrast. If you know the pictures well, I would imagine that a little bit of contrasting in image editor will do the trick.

In any case, the IIPMooViewer is acceptably responsive but I still prefer to have the whole image on my hard disk. This requires scores and scores of screen capturing, pasting to Photoshop and aligning (nerve-racking) and, obviously, an endless reserve of patience. If any kind soul out there knows how to sidestep this gargantuan task and download the whole images, don’t hesitate to let us all know.

Taco Dibbits’ words of wisdom

June 3rd, 2013

Of all the digital image policies of the world’s great art collections, the Rijksmuseum‘s clearly make most sense.

“We’re a public institution, and so the art and objects we have are, in a way, everyone’s property…” “‘With the Internet, it’s so difficult to control your copyright or use of images that we decided we’d rather people use a very good high-resolution image of the Milkmaid from the Rijksmuseum rather than using a very bad reproduction…”

Taco Dibbits (director of collections at the Rijksmuseum)

Read this NYT article for more information.


Google Art Project vs. Johannes Vermeer

May 28th, 2013
The Geographer, Johannes Vermeer

Detail of the Geographer on
Google’s Art Project at highest resolution.

Google can be amazing…sometimes the wrong way. From what I have gathered, the behemoth’s homegrown Art Project reflects fairly accurately their corporate mindset: despite brave-new-world ambition and claims of pushing technology to its limits, the project is sometimes unbelievably uneven in quality.

Among the latest museum additions to the Google Art Project is the Frankfurt Städelsches Kunstinstitut which houses Vermeer’s Geographer. Let me put it this way, I’d recommend you clicking on this link that takes you to the zoom feature of the picture only in the case you have a grudge with Vermeer. Its gritty, pixelated quality is simply astounding. It seems more likely that it was scanned from a weathered color 1950s transparency than from the picture itself using state-of-the-art digital imaging apparatus. On the positive side, at this point Google probably can’t do anything worse for Vermeer, although they will probably keep on trying.

BTW, can someone explain why Google Art Project lists artists by their first names?

Vermeer buildings virtually reconstructed

April 7th, 2013

Traux Studio has ingeniously reconstructed 3D models two historical Delft buildings: Mechelen, where Vermeer grew up, and the Old Men’s House, directly behind Mechelen which Vermeer presumably represented in his his early masterwork, The Little Street. Obviously, the model of the Old Mens House is based on Vermeer’s painting while the Mechelen was drawn from an engraving of c. 1720 by Leonard Schenk. Mechelen was one of the largest constructions on the Market Square. The reconstructed views can be viewed in hight-resolution and purchased online.

The Old Men’s House was torn down to make way for the new Delft St Luke Guild building during Vermeer’s lifetime. Mechelen was demolished in 1885 to make the way clear for fire-prevention equipment and no building stands in its place.  If you are into the finer points of the historical location of Vermeer’s Little Street, go to Philip Steadman’s online essay.

National Gallery, room 27

April 4th, 2013

The London National Gallery features virtual tours of 18 rooms in the museum. Room number 27 has Vermeer’s  Lady Seated at the Virginals. Use the zoom to get closer or move out for a panorama.

The  full screen version is particularly impressive. Click here.

Ideas for the technically minded

March 10th, 2013

Dragnetting the web for Vermeer as I often do, a lot comes up, both illuminating and obscure.

For example, I discovered that aside from Philip Steadman’s game-changing study on Vermeer and the camera obscura, the amount of technically oriented writings on Vermeer’s interiors is extensive, and a number of them can be accessed online. I won’t swear by any: the math is way way over my head, but maybe not over yours.