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Views on Vermeer

2009
Distributed by Icarus Films, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710
Produced by Martin Lagestee
Directed by Hans Pool and Koos de Wilt
DVD, color, 52 min.
Sr. High - General Adult
Art, Art History, Philosophy


Reviewed by Rue McKenzie, University of South Florida, Tampa

Recommended   
 
Date Entered: 2/7/2012

While watching the film Views on Vermeer: 10 Short Stories, one can simply enjoy the surface content of the program, or choose to delve into much deeper thought processes. A selection of painters, photographers, writers, curators, and other members of the creative world in various locations discuss and dissect the content, intent, and impact of Vermeer’s work. Discussions span from the very direct to the abstract. While at times a variety of Vermeer’s works are seen as lacking technical proficiency and realism, they are also perceived as capturing the fundamentals of reality, revealing moments in life while leaving much to the imagination of the viewer. The film begins with an intriguing look at London-based artist Tom Hunter’s series of photographic portraits directly influenced by Vermeer’s images. While initially tied to the difficult situation of his friends and neighbors being evicted from their homes, the images readily stand on their own unique power while eerily capturing the essence of Vermeer. The film wraps up with a charming comparative look at contemporary societal foci and fears, with writer/philosopher Alain de Botton indicating that he ‘doesn’t have enough Vermeer in his life’, referring to the sense of calm and acceptance that is present in so many of Vermeer’s works. In between Hunter and de Botton, ruminations on Vermeer the man and the body of his work are offered to the viewer by a diverse group of individuals.

Views on Vermeer provides thought provoking viewing for both the general and academic audience, and offers a gentle, comfortable “exercise of the brain” that sparks a desire for more contemplation and discussion.