'This project is a lot like watching paint dry," software inventor Tim Jenison cracks at one point in the documentary Tim's Vermeer. In fact, that's exactly what it's like - in the most fascinating, illuminating ways.
Long interested in the places where technology and art converge, and a man who can afford the luxury of working on pet projects - even if they take years and require the construction of a 17th-century Dutch drawing room, replete with tapestry, marble tiles, and gilt-stenciled virginal - Jenison was out to prove that the photorealistic style of the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer was the result of optical devices.
A century and a half before the invention of photography, Vermeer, Jenison believes, was using lenses, mirrors, and projected images to capture light and color in precise and intricate ways.
And so Jenison, anything but an artist himself, bought oil paints and brushes and built a contraption with materials that would have been available to Vermeer back in Delft. Taking Vermeer's beautiful The Music Lesson (the original hangs in Buckingham Palace), Jenison built an exact replica of the room depicted in the painting in his Texas warehouse.