22 09 2009

JOHANNES VERMEER, 1632 – 1675, is today considered as one of the greatest painters of the DUTCH GOLDEN AGE. that was not so during his lifetime, maybe because he only created a relatively small amount of paintings. he is best known for his masterly treatment and use of light, and for a special color, he used in most of his work – the VERMEER GREEN. DELFT in the netherlands, where vermeer lived, was at that time the center of optical experimentation and lens-making, what suggests that vermeer used a CAMERA OBSCURA in composing his pictures and handling colors and values. his portrayed figures are perfectly embedded in their environment, the atmosphere is peaceful and has a mysterious feel.

one of vermeer’s most well known paintings is THE GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING. the film with the same title, released 2003, is one of my favorites. directed by PETER WEBBER, art direction BEN VAN OS, costume design DIEN VAN STRAALEN and – cinematography EDUARDO SERRA. eduardo serra was the cinematographer of the 1997 WINGS OF THE DOVE as well. the visuals in the vermeer film are stunning, the whole film looks like vermeer’s painting come alive.
I combined some scenes of the film with a few of vermeer’s paintings to show you, how well films can be done completely without tons of special effects.

pearl 1

pearl 2

pearl 3
pearl 4

© archer street productions




5 responses

23 09 2009

Great post! For me it is a pinnacle of a movie with natural looking lighting.

23 09 2009
Edwin Rhemrev

I actually work in Delft (I’m a conceptual artist at a gamestudio) and see vermeer’s paintings throughout the city day in day out, and to my shame I’ve never seen this film….but the lighting is uncanny in these screenshots, so I’m gonna buy it on my lunchbreak tomorrow! Thanx! 😀


23 09 2009
Michael Sporn

I work with one of the film’s producers who has told quite a few of the backstage stories to me. All lower budget films seem to have their share. The film is extraordinarily well crafted and the photography is superb.

30 09 2009

Great comparison! I saw this film a couple of years ago and thought it was a wonderful testament to Vermeer in both lighting and composition. The story is also very entertaining.

12 04 2010
Richard Tulloch

I was in Delft recently, and it’s very photogenic, but I heard the film was mostly shot in Luxembourg. Do you know if that’s true? Thanks for the post, Richard


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