"The Astronomer"


Oil on Canvas 45 x 51 cm

The original painting by Vermeer (at the Louvre in Paris) looks yellow and brown.
When copying it, I tried to eliminate this brown layer. Maybe not enough, maybe too much. I could only guess.

Contrary to popular belief, copying a painting requires you to make decisions all the time. On the one hand you have to stay true to the original, but you also know that (in the case of Vermeer) almost 400 years of aging, wear, discoloration, etc. are involved. Not to mention the fidelity true original colors of the painting, which one can never fully approach.
Then I am not even talking about the painter's style, painting process, the old pigments he used, and the way he used them.
All I can do during the painting process is rely on my own experience as a painter, and make all decisions from there.

And this is exactly what makes it exciting, because sometimes you get a completely different painting than the original.

vergelijk 800.jpg
Wow, wonderful skill you have. Amazing work. I like your new improved version better. More vibrant and still shows light. I do wonder though, perhaps the sunlight in the original was indeed yellowish.

Doing some brief research I found this....

Dutch researchers have shown that when old-master paintings are cleaned, larger molecules of aged varnish can be left behind which actually seem to contribute to the yellowing of canvases and panels.

In addition, ultramarine, yellow and red lake pigments fade.

Vibrant blue ultramarine may have been an expensive pigment, but it was not without problems. Over time, the paint surface can acquire a blanched appearance, so that these areas are now lighter in colour than the artist intended. Many of Vermeer's paintings suffer from this effect.

Altered appearance of ultramarine | Vermeer and technique​

Holy wow! (No, not cow.) This is so impressive; impressive is an understatement. I have incredible admiration for what you do. You have the skill and knowledge to understand Vemeer's incredible finesse for light. That is saying something. This is outstanding. 👏 👏 👏
Hey Mark, hope all is well... this is my favorite Vermeer's painting and it is (as Ayin said it) impressive! Oh boy, beautiful work again!
Jeez, if you're not pulling our leg, Vermeer has competition! I hope you're not trying to sell these on the market as genuine, because they would fool most people handily.
Thanks everyone for the comments, but life goes fast and in the meantime, I've made two other ones.

This is "The Lacemaker", a small one (8.6 x 10 in).

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and this one:
"The Guitar Player" - 18.4 x 21.5 in
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These two original paintings (esp. The Lacemaker) are used, and have a yellowish appearance.
I mostly never try to paint the yellowing of an original painting, because I could easily copy it by adding another layer on top of the finished copy, when dry

I am always surprised when I look at old masters paintings because just because they have yellowed they seem more uniform (and warmer). They seem to form a more coherent whole.
A lot depends on the subject and the degree of yellowing, of course.

This is a photoshop simulation:

1. is the original painting (I am aware that a picture from the internet is never an "original" painting, but I've seen the grand Vermeer exhibition in Amsterdam, earlier this year (28 paintings), and I was very pleased with my "copies".
2. is the painted copy
3. is the painted copy with a uniform layer of yellow/ochre, applied in photoshop, which brings us back to the "original" painting.

detail LR.jpg