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Traces of Vermeer


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Table of Contents

Introduction Illustration of a Camera Obscura Acknowledgements List of Illustrations Map of Central Delft in 1675 Chronology of Vermeer's Paintings Prelude 1: A Painter at Home 2: Colours of Delft 3: Substance and Supports 4: Working in the Studio 5: Layers and Layers 6: Through the Lens 7: A Glimpse of Vermeer 8: The Brightness of Day 9: Into the Dark 10: Printed Light Coda Appendices Notes Suppliers of Materials Bibliography Picture Credits Index

About the Author

Jane Jelley is a painter of still life and landscape who became interested in the unusual technical qualities of Vermeer's painting, and in the arguments about whether or not he might have used a camera obscura in his work. She decided to make some experiments in her own studio to transfer images from projections directly to a canvas. Using historical painting treatises and authentic materials, she found a reliable solution that corresponds to the scientific examination of Vermeer's work which provides answers to some of the puzzles he left behind. Her study was published in the journal Art and Perception Volume 1, issue 1-2, 2013. Jane lives and works in Oxford.


This is not another speculative Vermeer biography, a fill-in-the-gaps, guesswork life. This is Vermeer the painter, by a painter.... Jelley's meticulous approach yields fascinating insights. * Laura Freeman, Literary Review *
Well-researched... vivid... fascinating. * Lynn Roberts, Tablet *
The exquisitely luminous paintings of Johannes Vermeer have long stirred debate over whether the seventeenth-century Dutch master used optical aids. Artist Jane Jelley probed the issue pragmatically. * Barbara Kiser, Nature *
The appeal of Jelley's elegant book is the product of her literary style and the abundant reproductions of Vermeer's work and that of his contemporaries. Jelley's volume is a work of art in itself. * New York Journal of Books *
Fascinating. Jelley brings a vast knowledge, and, more importantly, practice, of traditional painting techniques... she proposes a novel suggestion as to how exactly Vermeer could have used a camera obscura... A boon to both scholars and casual art appreciators. * Politics and Prose, Washington DC *
Along the way... Jelley infuses her descriptions of Vermeer's world with a vivid immediacy, taking readers into the hustle and bustle of market day in Delft... It quickly becomes an immersive reading experience, like an excellent historical novel with 62 pages of fine-type end notes attached to help with further inquiries. * Simon Donoghue, Christian Science *
In this overtly investigative yet very readable book [Jane Jelley] bequeaths the reader with an inexorable intrigue that is altogether contagious. * David Marx, David Marx Book Reviews *
Magnificent. * Anna Maria Polidori, Al Femminile *
Sensational... revelatory and wholly convincing. * Simon Jenkins, Guardian *
A fascinating approach that throws up a plethora of intriguing details that add to the texture of Vermeer's life and technique... Jelley's ingenious experiment offer[s] a plausible suggestion as to how he set about his magical paintings. * Michael Prodger, Sunday Times *
An absolute delight. A rich and highly original exploration of Vermeer's life and work seen through the eyes of a practising painter. * Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe *
Featuring wonderful illustrations, engaging prose, and a deep knowledge of the craft, this is a study in art history and methodology to delight an audience beyond just visual artists. * Kirkus, Starred Review *
Jane Jelley adds a unique perspective on Vermeer's techniques and style. * Johan Wagemans, University of Leuven *

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