Vermeer Beyond Time, a new documentary chronicling the life and times of one of the most-loved, treasured and well-known artists in the world today, Johannes Vermeer, will have screenings across the country this summer to coincide with the once-in-a-lifetime exhibition Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry at the National Gallery of Ireland from Saturday 17thJune, in collaboration with the Musée du Louvre, Paris, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington.
In the feature documentary, Vermeer, Beyond Time, French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Cottet adopts an imaginative and sensitive approach to his subject focusing on the work itself but also explores Vermeer’s family life including his conversion to Catholicism, his artistic contemporaries and the wider world of the short-lived Dutch Golden Age of the 17th Century.
Cottet’s film explores the individual paintings and teases out what has come to be known as the Vermeer style; the representation of light, the interplay of colour and the effects of perspective across the same themes, places, and objects. James Mitchell of Irish production company Soho Moon produced the documentary and it is narrated by Fiona Shaw.
Vermeer’s paintings are of a world inhabited by refined and cultivated women; respectful or troublesome servants; charming young people and learned men. His ruthless elimination of objects and things that serve no purpose results in an art that suspends time and that leaves us, the viewer, always wanting to know more. The film adds much to our understanding and knowledge of the painter, while still allowing for the mystery and allure of his art.
Vermeer’s death in 1675 is sudden and incredibly sad. Overwhelmed by poverty, physically weakened and humiliated, he dies at the age of 45. Soon afterwards his paintings are sold to cover his debts. Vermeer disappears from memory. His rediscovery some 200 years later has seen his popularity soar, claiming both our hearts and our admiration.
Vermeer, Beyond Time screens at the following cinemas on Wednesday 21st June – Gate Cork and Light House Dublin; Thursday 22ndJune – Mermaid Arts Centre Bray; Sunday 9th July – Tracton The Inkwell Theatre Cork. Eclipse Pictures hope to expand the screenings in the coming weeks.
For advance ticket booking for the upcoming exhibition, Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry at The National Gallery of Ireland, go to www.nationalgallery.ie.