"Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor, attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in the art world: How did Dutch master Johannes Vermeer manage to paint so photo-realistically 150 years before the invention of photography? Here's how he conducted his experiment."
Go here to read about it.
Of course, he cheated with a milling machine instead of using a period lathe.
I kid! I kid!
Anyhow, it's interesting to see the experimental archeology process he used.