Tim Jenison (gray beard) is a computer geek, an inventor, a man of ideas and he has enormous stick-to-it-ness when working on project. He feels he's figured out how Vermeer (and perhaps Caravaggio and perhaps a few other painters of the 16th century whose works are amazingly light filled and lifelike got their effects. He's gone a bit beyond David Hockney's (major British painter) idea of using a camera obscura.
This documentary, produced by the illusionist team Penn and Teller (both of whom are in the movie now and then) shows Tim discovering the process with mirrors and deciding to paint a Vermeer -- in fact "The Music Lesson" which is rarely seen by the public since it belongs to Queen Elizabeth and is in Buckingham Palace. Tim got permission to actually look at it for half an hour. Of course photographs of it exist so Tim decided to totally recreate the room of the painting -- an incredibly laborious process (probably very expensive too -- but, hey, it's a movie, well a documentary movie). He met with Hockney and a British art historian who supports the idea of camera obscura. Eventually Tim -- who is not a painter, has no art training, but taught himself how to make paints as they were made by Verneer, etal -- spent over three months laboriously painting "The Music Lesson" including the laborious detail on the clavier and on the oriental rug that is seen in the original. To prove he's human he admits after about 3 months that if this weren't a movie he'd throw in the towel). He completes an amazing painting that seems exactly like the original. The viewer get a load of information in the movie. I found it totally fascinating. It's new and it's being shown in art theatres -- at last on the East Coast (as a Google search showed). I'd strongly recommend it to people who care about fine art.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!