Armed with dimensions for the
room from the reconstructions of Chapter 5, it has been possible
to build a scale model of Vermeer’s studio complete with miniature
furniture and fittings. In this model a photographic plate camera
takes the place of Vermeer’s camera obscura, its lens at the viewpoint
and its plate in line with the back wall of the room. With this
setup Steadman and colleagues have produced photographic simulations
to compare with Vermeer’s originals. The process has served as
an independent test of the geometrical work, and has allowed the
examination of some questions of lighting, colour and shadow.
In 1989 Vermeer’s room was rebuilt at full size, and dressed as
for ‘The Music Lesson’, for a BBC television programme. The set
incorporated a real camera obscura with a simple convex lens of
10 cm diameter. This gave an image of Vermeer’s painting at its
actual size, sufficiently bright to film. Since the book was completed,
a movie special effects team in California led by Jon Erland has
built a computer model of the room.
Photographic reconstruction [top left] of Vermeer's 'Lady Standing
at the Virginals', compared with the real painting [below left].
[Below right] Photograph of the set of the 1989 BBC film, dressed
as for 'The Music Lesson'.