A Japanese molecular biologist with a love of the works of 17th century Dutch artist
The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in
The Japanese scientist currently lives in
At the invitation of the Mauritshuis, he traveled to
The museum honored Fukuoka, a self-proclaimed Vermeer geek, with a touch of playfulness in the film. It shows him relaxing on a sofa in a recreation of his apartment but featuring the genuine "Girl" painting on the wall.
One might wonder what it is about Vermeer that fascinates the molecular biologist known in
"He doesn't try to interpret the world but impartially depicts it as is," Fukuoka says.
The realism depicted by Vermeer's brushstrokes and his scientific attention to detail have produced works of art with photographic qualities. The Dutch painter's technique appears to resonate with the mind of the Japanese scientist, who attempts to objectively unravel the mysteries of life.
Fukuoka postulates that Vermeer's approach to painting was inspired by Anton van Leeuwenhoek, known as the father of microscopy who, like the artist, was born in 1632 in the Dutch town of Delft.
While studying in his late 20s at Rockefeller in
Since then, of the 37 existing works attributed to the Dutch painter and held by collections around the world, Fukuoka says he has seen all but one. "The Concert," one of the works stolen in a massive heist from the
Driven by his "geeky" enthusiasm, Fukuoka has published a book on the painter -- "Vermeer Hikari no Okoku" (Vermeer: The Realm of Light) three years ago.
The trip in June was Fukuoka's fourth visit to Mauritshuis. The "Girl," owned by the museum, is also known as "Girl in a Blue Turban."
Fukuoka is drawn to the color blue. "In nature, there is no pigment for blue and it only exists as a phenomenon. It's not something you can capture in your hand and own. Blue is a color of longing," he says.
Whenever Fukuoka visits the
"The world is constantly flowing. You cannot describe it as it is. You carve out a fragment and then you have the time leading to that moment and the time starting from there. It is like suspending and then depicting the constantly evolving life," Fukuoka says of his interpretation of what Vermeer attempts with his painting.
He returned to
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