Art History in Sherlock
Yes, I too, have watched and enjoyed Mark Gatiss and Stephen Moffat’s modern remake of Sherlock. However, some aspects did irk/intrigue me.
(Cut for some mild spoilers)
(ETA: I wish to apologize for such a badly written post. I did some editing and I hope it looks better now.)
One aspect came from The Blind Baker episode. When the first instance of yellow graffiti made its appearance on the portrait, I did not know what to make of it. However, when the second instance of yellow graffiti showed up in the library, I figured it out. There, I realized that the writing resembled Asian calligraphy. When it took Sherlock a long time to recognize the style as Chinese calligraphy, I had Da Vinci Code flashbacks. It reminded me of when two educated, older investigators took a whole chapter to realize that Da Vinci wrote in backwards where I, a community college student in my early twenties already knew that, mentally screamed at the characters for not knowing this instantly. For me, that chapter represented such a cheap attempt at drama.
Going back to the Sherlock episode, it made me sad that I figured out what the graffiti resembled quicker than Sherlock did. I just wished somebody pointed out, “Hey, that resembles Asian calligraphy,” and went from there. Given how multicultural a place we live in now, I felt that they should have figured this out at least the second time. ETA: Sherlock could claim all he wanted that the writing came from an archaic era all he wants, I still recognized it faster than he did.
Lastly, I wish to write about Vermeer vignette during The Great Game. When I first saw the painting, I admit I am not the biggest Vermeer expert, nor do I remember my first impressions when seeing the painting. However, after looking into the complete works of Vermeer, and seeing the episode again a second time, I felt amazement at the lack of warmth and welcoming atmosphere in the fake painting’s atmosphere compared to a typical Vermeer painting. It felt too modern for a Northern Baroque artist. However, I do not consider the characters stupid for not realizing this. After all, Sherlock’s life revolves around crime and not art history. The fact that the fake took place in a contemporary gallery and mentioning that only scientists tested the paint with no mention of connoisseurs as consultants (Who probably would have detected this error at first sight) made sense. From what I learned during my SCAD years and reading some books about forgeries (ETA: Currently reading Thomas Hoving’s False Impressions), I saw a lot of debate over connoisseurs versus scientists in the art world. In short, I am not surprised that the curator almost got away with it. Also, the beginning of Sherlock not knowing everything acted as a great foreshadowing technique for this moment in the episode.
ETA: Not the only one who took apart the Vermeer vignette.