Vermeer and the Camera Obscura: Resources

Publications

  • DELSAUTE, Jean-Luc, "The Camera Obscura and the Painting in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries." in Vermeer Studies edited by Ivan Gaskell and M. Jonker, New Haven, 1998.
    (An excellent study of the camera obscura's role in 16th- and 17th-c. painting)
  • FINK, Daniel A., "Vermeer's Use of the Camera Obscura - A Comparative Study." The Art Bulletin 53, 1971.
  • GOWING, Lawrence, Vermeer, London, 1952.
    (Other than being one of the most powerful interpretations of Vermeer's art, Gowing also provides some insights into Vermeer's use of the camera obscura.)
  • HAMMOND, John H., The Camera Obscura: a Chronicle, Bristol, 1981.
  • HAMMOND, John H. and AUSTIN, Jill, The Camera Lucida in Art and Science, Bristol, 1987.
  • van HELDEN, Anne, "Camera Obscura." in The Scholarly World of Vermeer, Zwolle, 1996.
  • HOCKNEY, David, Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old
    Masters
    , New York, 2001
  • HUERTA, Robert, The Natural Philosophers: The Parallel Search for Knowledge during the Age of Discovery, Bucknell University Press, 2003.
  • Inside the Camera Obscura – Optics and Art under the Spell of the Projected Image". ed. Wolfgang Lefèvre, 2007. <http://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/Preprints/P333.PDF>
  • HYATT, A. Mayor, "The Photographic Eye." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, new series vol. 1, 1946.
  • JELLEY, Jane, "From Perception to Paint: the practical use of the Camera Obscura in the time of Vermeer", in Art and Perception, July 2013. Click here to download PD. (Jelley's experiment shows a method that would have made transfers from a projection to a canvas a practical possibility, using readily available materials and contemporary technology. This technique not only solves the problems of the reversals of camera obscura images, but significantly, the resultant transfers from the lens show striking resonance with Vermeer’s own underpainting, revealed by scientific analysis. This research also provides some answers about the use of particular materials in the 17th-century studio.)
  • KEMP, Martin, The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat, New Haven, 1990.
  • MILLS, A. A. and JONES M. L., "Three lenses by Constantijn Huygens in the possession of the Royal Society of London," Annals of Science 46 (1989), pp. 173-182.
  • MILLS, A. A., "Vermeer and the camera obscura: some practical considerations." Leonardo vol. 31, no. 3, 1998, pp. 213-218.
  • LINDBERG, D. C., "The theory of pinhole images from antiquity to the thirteenth century." Archive for History of the Exact Sciences 5, pp. 154-157, 1968-1969.
  • PENNELL, Joseph, "Photography as a hindrance and a help to art." British Journal of Photography, no. 1618, vol. XXXVIII, 1891, pp. 294-296.
  • SCHWARTS, Heinrick, "Vermeer and the Camera Obscura." Pantheon 24, 1966.
  • STEADMAN, Phillip, Vermeer's Camera: Uncovering the Truth behind the Masterpieces, 2001.
    (One of the most exhaustive investigations, and also the most disputed of Vermeer's use of the camera obscura. It is required reading for anyone interested not only in Vermeer's working methods, but in the artist himself)
  • WADUM, Jørgen, "Vermeer in Perspective." in Johannes Vermeer edited by Arthur Wheelock, New Haven, 1995, pp. 67-79.
  • WATERHOUSE, J., "Notes on the early history of the camera obscura." The Photographic Journal, vol. XXXV, 9, 31 May, 1901, pp. 270-290.
  • WHEELCOK, Arthur, "Perspective, Optics and Delft Artists Around 1650" (reprint of dissertation submitted to Harvard University 1973), Garland, New York, 1977.

Websites

Vermeer & the Camera Obscura
Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters, David Hockney
Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters
David Hockney
Expanded edition - October 5, 2006
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initiated: march 12, 2014