Vermeer's Camera: Uncovering The Truth Behind The Masterpieces by Philip SteadmanVermeer's Camera: Uncovering The Truth Behind The Masterpieces by Philip Steadman

Vermeer's Camera: Uncovering The Truth Behind The Masterpieces

byPhilip Steadman

Paperback | April 1, 2002

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Over 100 years of speculation and controversy surround claims that the great seventeenth-century Dutch artist, Johannes Vermeer, used the camera obscura to create some of the most famous images in Western art. This intellectual detective story starts by exploring Vermeer's possible knowledge of seventeenth-century optical science, and outlines the history of this early version of the photographic camera, which projected an accurate image for artists to trace. However, it is Steadman's meticulousreconstruction of the artist's studio, complete with a camera obscura, which provides exciting new evidence to support the view that Vermeer did indeed use the camera.These findings do not challenge Vermeer's genius but show how, like many artists, he experimented with new technology to develop his style and choice of subject matter. The combination of detailed research and a wide range of contemporary illustrations offers a fascinating glimpse into a time ofgreat scientific and cultural innovation and achievement in Europe.
Philip Steadman is Professor of Urban and Built Form Studies at University College London. He trained as an architect, and has taught at Cambridge University and the Open University. He has published several books on geometry in architecture, and on computer-aided design. In the 1960s he edited and published Form, a quarterly magazine...
Title:Vermeer's Camera: Uncovering The Truth Behind The MasterpiecesFormat:PaperbackPublished:April 1, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0192803026

ISBN - 13:9780192803023

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The camera obscura2. The discovery of Vermeer's use of the camera3. Who taught Vermeer about optics?4. A room in Vermeer's house?5. Reconstructing the spaces in Vermeer's paintings6. The riddle of the Sphinx of Delft7. More evidence, from rebuilding Vermeer's studio8. Arguments against Vermeer's use of the camera9. The influence of the camera on Vermeer's painting styleAppendicesFurther ReadingA. Architectural features appearing in Vermeer's interiorsB. Measurements of Vermeer's room and furniture

Editorial Reviews

"Vermeer's Camera offers a fresh perspective on some of the most exceptional paintings ever created."--Gadfly "Did the rise of photography prepare the way for Vermeer's rediscovery after two centuries of neglect? More than that, Steadman argues in his new book, 'Vermeer's Camera, ' Vermeer may have paved the way for photography itself by his use of a camera obscura. Most art historians now believe that Vermeer used this optical convenience, but no one has taken more trouble to prove it than Steadman."--San Francisco Chronicle "Of the three new approaches to the painter, Philip Steadman's Vermeer's Camera is the most vivid and impressive.... In its chief thesis, that Vermeer used an optical device, a camera obscura, to make his paintings, it may even be dead wrong. Yet reading about how Vermeer might have used such an aid presents, at least in Steadman's telling, an experience that is closer to how we absorb the painter's intense, spooky, and perfectionistic work than Liedtke's or Bailey's accounts. It's only in Steadman's presentation that I felt I came close to Vermeer himself."--Sanford Schwartz, The New York Review of Books "This geometer and architect will add a new dimension to the literature on Vermeer."--Times Literary Supplement