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Saturday, September 08, 2007

'The Music Lesson'

This painting, often referred to as 'The Music Lesson', was created by the great Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer in the 1660s. Vermeer (1632-75) only produced about 30 paintings during his lifetime. He really seems to have worked rather slowly. When he died, his wife and family were left in debt. Two paintings went to the local baker to settle a bill. But since about 100 years ago, his work started to be re-assessed, and today he is regarded as one of the greatest artists that ever lived.
Very little is known about Vermeer's life, and his methods of working. He had no students or apprentices, and he left no records. But many people have speculated that he might have used some sort of optical device to help him create his paintings, possibly a device called a Camera obscura, the forerunner of the modern camera. Literally 'darkened room' a Camera obscura is a box which has a lens at the front. A portable Camera obscura can have a ground glass screen onto which the image from the lens is thrown. Or a Camera obscura can be big enough for the observer to be inside it.
These speculations about Vermeer's possible use of a Camera obscura are based on general observations about his paintings. But recent work by Professor Philip Steadman, of the Open University in England, has thrown new light on this issue. Read the rest of the story here

Thanx Grand illusions & wikipedia for the rich content.


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