The Exhibition on Display sequence totally comes into its personal with this guided tour of the Vermeer show currently taking place at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam; all of the bodily tickets for its four-month run are bought out, and so this movie represents the one practical probability for most individuals to take a flip across the gallery. Whereas being within the presence of the true factor would clearly be a transcendent expertise, there’s one thing to be mentioned for this elegantly produced walking-tour in a needs-must state of affairs.
The ensuing movie performs to the sequence’ strengths – glowing, leisurely closeups of the artwork, accompanied by a continuous stream of realized remark from curators and critics. (In some methods, heretically, a movie like this may truly be an enchancment on the in-person expertise: no preventing via crowds, or craning to see over a coach-party’s heads.) What we get is a brisk run-through of Vermeer’s again story, corresponding to it’s identified; numerous Rijksmuseum eminences discuss thematically via their exhibition, together with the likes of super-voluble former Occasions artwork critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston – although, maybe forgivably, all people mentions the precise present a bit an excessive amount of to not remind the viewers they’ll by no means truly get to see it.
Maybe probably the most attention-grabbing insights come from the curator who spent months X-raying and conserving Lady Studying a Letter, who talks with infectious enthusiasm on how Vermeer layered totally different shades of color as he painted the sting of the blue gown. Nor do the commenters shrink back from the theories that Vermeer used a digicam obscura to repair his pictures, however steer effectively away from repeating something like the claims of Tim Jenison, of Tim’s Vermeer notoriety – that in essence Vermeer’s work is well reproducible. And maybe seeing the work on this format drives residence Vermeer’s amazingly circumscribed places, materials and props – the photographs that grasp behind lots of his topics would make an enchanting chapter in their very own proper. Whereas – in the long run – this can be a remedy that doesn’t precisely pull up any bushes, as a doc of arguably the main exhibition of our time, it’s a must-see.