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Girl with a Pearl Earring Review

Many believe that a first impression is the last impression. This notion is challenged when looking at the Girl with a Pearl Earring. When you glance at her you delve almost involuntarily to look deeper. Enticed by her shiny pearl earring, your mind begins to question. Why is she glancing back at you? It seems like she’s about to tell us something with her lips partially open. But all we have is her silence, adding to her mysterious charm.

She’s alluded crowds including the Duchess of Cambridge, who met her at Mauritshuis museum in The Hague. So, you’re not alone in journeying the story behind this girl.

The Girl with a Pearl Earring is a painting done by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) which is also known as the ‘Dutch Mona Lisa’ or the ‘Mona Lisa of the North.’ Vermeer’s painting has been written into a novel by author Tracy Chevalier in 1999, which became a New York best seller. Chevalier’s book led to the creation of a movie.

What sort of portrait is the Girl with a Pearl Earring?

Art historians explain that Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring isn’t a portrait but a tronie. A tronie is a subcategory of Dutch portraiture depicting an imaginary character. The Girl’s appearance is exotic owing to the blue turban and large tear drop pearl. Pearls surface in several paintings by Vermeer but in this piece the size of the pearl is questionable. It is possible that the earring was a glass replica or something from the painter’s imagination. However, tronies allow a painter imaginative space to depict subjects in an idealistic way.

Who painted of the Girl with a Pearl Earring?

Art historians agree that there’s very little known about Johannes Vermeer. For starters, we don’t have a photograph of him. Vermeer was a Dutch Baroque painter and some of his most famous works include the Milkmaid and the Art of Painting. Along with Rembrandt and Frans Hals, Vermeer stands as a pioneer artist of the Dutch Golden Age. He was not well known during his lifetime which he spent in Delft; sadly, he did not make a living with his paintings. Historians say he took up inn-keeping to support his family. Vermeer was brought to the spotlight, in 1881 thanks to the French art critic Théophile Thoré-Bürger who wrote about him as the “Sphynx of Delft.”

What makes the Girl with a Pearl Earring stand apart?

Historians believe that Vermeer’s  slow pace of work might be the reason behind the genius techniques he employed. The subtlety of light shown in the reflection of the tear drop pearl and sheer gloss of the Girl’s lips highlight the artists’ extraordinary talent.

Who is the Girl with a Pearl Earring?

Due to the personal feel of his works, such as in the Girl with a Pearl Earring, some believe that Vermeer’s works depicted his family members. The most likely model for this painting might’ve been Maria Vermeer, his eldest daughter. In Peter Weber’s movie, the Girl is named Griet and is Vermeer’s maidservant. The lack of evidence to back this fantasy has sparked many debates.

Where is the painting situated today?

Today, Vermeer’s oil on canvas painting measuring 17.5’’ x 15.4’’ rests in the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, Netherlands which is responsible for its restoration in 1881. Although undated, scholars posit the painting was made in 1665.

Yes, we might not have proven answers to the who, why, what and when of the Girl with a Pearl Earring. The mystery looms larger as one question leads to another. Maybe, it’s good this way. For without mysteries, like the trove hidden behind this Girl, we’d have no reason to gaze a little longer and revel in an unresolved discovery.

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