Chuck Close on Johannes Vermeer

"All of this is to say that Johannes Vermeer is the only artist whose paintings I cannot readily deconstruct; their physicality and process seem to resist all analytical scrutiny. Other than the fact that they were all made with the use of a lens and a camera-obscura-like mechanical contrivance of some kind, the paintings remain impenetrable. I have no idea how Vermeer made them. The paint appears to have been blown onto the canvas or panel by a divine breath of air - the perfect breeze. The paint does not seem to function as a film of pigment - neither opaque nor translucent - but instead as light itself." 

Above: Johannes Vermeer, The Milkmaid, c. 1657-58, Oil on canvas

(p. 54)