Van Meegeren's Faked Vermeers Vermeer

Master of Light
. NOTAVAILABLE. Van Meegeren's Faked Vermeers. (Willow Tree Collection). b/w. 28 min. Films of the Nations, dist. by Alden Films, 800-832-0960; 2009. DVD $29.95. Vermeer: Master of Light. (National Gallery of Art Film). color. 57 min. Microcinema Intl., 415-447-9750; 2009. DVD UPC 880198095190. $24.95. Closed-captioned. ART-GENERAL
What makes a Vermeer a Vermeer is the question posed in Vermeer: Master of Light, an engaging exploration of the 17th-century Dutch painter. Addressing this question are conservator David Bull, art historian Seymour Slive, and curator Arthur Wheelock, who provide commentaries—interspersed with an informative narration by Meryl Streep—on the themes, techniques, and compositional attributes of this creator of poetic images of Dutch life. The production employs excellent camerawork and special effects to demonstrate how Vermeer applied layers of paint and glazes and juxtaposed and overlaid colors to achieve the radiant quality of the girl's gaze in The Girl with a Red Hat. A computerized perspective diagram and infrared examination of The Music Lesson show how Vermeer calculated and modified the placement of objects and the figures to draw the viewer into this intimate scene while capturing the moment and dignifying women engaged in everyday tasks. This exceptional Emmy Award-winning production will be enjoyed by general audiences.Van Meegeren's Faked Vermeers considers the international scandal surrounding disaffected Dutch artist Han van Meegeren (1889–1947), who during the 1930s until his arrest in 1945 produced forgeries of works by Vermeer and other painters of the Dutch Golden Age. One of his fakes, Supper at Emmaus, was praised as a Vermeer by a leading scholar and acquired by a Rotterdam museum. Another "imposter" was bought by Nazi leader and art collector Hermann Goering, which ultimately led to its discovery and a confession by van Meegeren. During his sensational trial, he painted his last work to demonstrate the techniques and materials he used to re-create 17th-century paintings. This is a rerelease of the 1949 black-and-white documentary chronicling the forger's career. Unfortunately, the overall production quality is poor, and the appeal will be limited; not recommended.—Susan E. Annett, Santa Monica P.L., CA
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