Secret friend live camera
Right, Vermeer’s The Music Lesson, the painting Jenison chose to re-create., Left, courtesy of Tim Jenison.
In the history of art, Johannes Vermeer is almost as mysterious and unfathomable as Shakespeare in literature, like a character in a novel.
“I hadn’t had an adult conversation outside of work in a year,” Jillette says.
“I needed to talk to somebody who has nothing to do with work and is not a child.” Jenison flew to Vegas that day. In Los Angeles the next day they had half a dozen pitch meetings with TV executives.
And The Music Lesson shows you the exact position of the windows.” But the challenge was immense, because in order to reproduce the painting with the help of a camera obscura, Jenison would first have to build an exact reproduction of the room in the original painting, and of everything in it.
Around that time Jenison happened to get a call from his old friend Penn Jillette, the larger, voluble half of Penn & Teller, in Las Vegas.
Hockney argued in that not only Vermeer but many great painters from the 15th century onward must have secretly used lens-and-mirror contraptions to achieve their photo-realistic effects. Hockney, people said, was just jealous because he lacks the old masters’ skills.
Then, just as photography is making highly realistic painting seem pointless, the photo-realistic is rediscovered and his pictures are suddenly deemed valuable.