Did Johannes Vermeer, one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age, use a camera obscura (or some other optical technology) to help produce his intriguing works of legendary photorealism? Could someone with no painterly skills recreate a fraction of Vermeer's oil-on-canvas magic with the help of such optical assistance? Maybe!
The linked article gives an account of one dedicated inventor's quest to prove the plausibility of the so-called Hockney–Falco thesis (i.e. that various Renaissance artists used optical technology to aid them in their painting). Lttle insight is provided into why Vermeer's paintings are great in the first place; nevertheless it's an intriguing example of the possible intersection of art and science. There's also a film documenting the project - might be worth checking out!
Looking at Vermeer's paintings, it seemed to me that he must have had a way to not only trace the shapes, but capture the colors of a projected image. If he could do that [using optical technology], his paintings might be a form of photography, achieved not with film and chemicals, but with the human hand. Vermeer's paintings might be 350 year-old color photographs.