Vermeer: Realm of Light




Inspired by his visit to the Vermeer Center Delft, where copies of Vermeer’s entire oeuvre are displayed in a single gallery, Dr. Shin-Ichi Fukuoka determined to bring the experience to Japan—but with an additional twist. The Vermeer Center Ginza would not be displaying copies, but Re-creates, digitally (re)mastered images intended to be closer to the original state of the painting than the originals themselves.

Vermeer: Realm of Light opened in Ginza, in the heart of Tokyo, in 2012. To date, the exhibition has welcomed more than half a million visitors, a testament to the borderless and enduring appeal of Vermeer. After its residency in Ginza, the exhibition has toured through a number of cities in Japan, giving visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the art of Vermeer—something quite impossible otherwise in a country where there are no original Vermeer paintings.

The idea behind the exhibition was to understand Vermeer in the contexts of motion and history—or, as Dr. Fukuoka says, dynamic equilibrium. “When I looked at his works of art, re-created, the blues and reds and yellows just as bright or as subtle as he painted them, in chronological order, I felt like I suddenly understood what it was that Vermeer had been trying to do”, says Dr. Fukuoka. “I think he was more of a scientist than an artist. He was living in a time with no photography, but he worked almost like a photographer. Rather than the standard stance of the artist – attempting to project his own interpretation of the world onto his subjects – he simply documented the world as it appeared, paying equal attention to every detail. He is not the self-projecting artist but the neutral lens of the camera. And I see that as a very scientifically oriented approach for the age in which he lived”.