American inventor and entrepreneur Tim Jenison conducted an experiment to discover how 17th century Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer achieved such photographic realism in his paintings.
He created an optical aid – a device which he calls the ‘comparator’, that consists of a mirror mounted to a stick, placed in a specific way – that allowed him to paint photo-realistically.
He suggested that centuries ago a handful of painters secretly used this process, and concluded that perhaps a few of the great masterpieces from the Dutch Golden Age were created in this way. During Hound in the Hunt at Mona several accomplished painters will experiment using optical machines to recreate paintings by Johannes Vermeer, Caravaggio and Willem Heda from live models and life-sized scenery right on the museum floor.
Mona visitors can even try the process for themselves, as they are handed a pencil and given instruction on how to use the simple but effective mirror on a stick.