Vermeer's Camera

Vermeer's Camera : Uncovering the Truth Behind the Masterpieces

4.14 (76 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 meticulous reconstruction 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 of great scientific and cultural innovation and achievement in more

Product details

  • Paperback | 222 pages
  • 154 x 230 x 14mm | 358.34g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • numerous halftones and line drawings; 8pp colour plates
  • 0192803026
  • 9780192803023
  • 94,695

Table of contents


Review quote

This intellectual detective story explores Vermeer's possible knowledge of 17th century science and provides exciting new evidence that one of the world's best-loved painters used a camera obscura to create some of the most famous images in Western Art. Illustrated with colour plates and monochrome illustrations, the book offers a fascinating glimpse of a time of great scientific and cultural innovation and achievement. Highly more

About Philip Steadman

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 of the arts, and co-authored a book on kinetic art. He helped to produce four computer-animated films on the work of Leonardo da Vinci for an exhibition in London in 1989. He has also contributed to other exhibitions, films, and books on perspective geometry and the history of art. Vermeer's Camera is the product of twenty years' fascination with the Dutch more

Rating details

76 ratings
4.14 out of 5 stars
5 42% (32)
4 33% (25)
3 22% (17)
2 3% (2)
1 0% (0)
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