Girl with a Pearl Earring

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Girl with a Pearl Earring
Dutch: Meisje met de parel
Meisje met de parel.jpg
Artist Johannes Vermeer
Year c. 1665
Type Tronie
Material Oil on canvas
Dimensions 44.5 cm × 39 cm (17.5 in × 15 in)
Location Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands

Girl with a Pearl Earring (Dutch: Meisje met de parel)[1][2] is an oil painting by 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. It is a tronie of a girl with a turban and a pearl earring. The painting has been in the collection of the Mauritshuis in The Hague since 1902.

Description[edit]

The painting is a tronie, the Dutch 17th-century description of a 'head' that was not meant to be a portrait. It depicts a girl wearing an exotic dress, an oriental turban, and a large pearl earring.[1] In 2014, Dutch astrophysicist Vincent Icke raised doubts about the material of the earring and argued that it looks more like polished tin than pearl on the grounds of the specular reflection, the pear shape and the large size of the earring.[3][4]

The work is oil on canvas and is 44.5 cm (17.5 in) high and 39 cm (15 in) wide. It is signed "IVMeer" but not dated. It is estimated to be painted around 1665.[5] It is unclear whether this work was commissioned, and, if so, by whom.[citation needed]

After the most recent restoration of the painting in 1994, the subtle color scheme and the intimacy of the girl's gaze toward the viewer have been greatly enhanced.[6] During the restoration, it was discovered that the dark background, today somewhat mottled, was initially intended by the painter to be a deep enamel-like green. This effect was produced by applying a thin transparent layer of paint, called a glaze, over the present-day black background. However, the two organic pigments of the green glaze, indigo and weld, have faded.[citation needed]

Ownership and display[edit]

On the advice of Victor de Stuers, who for years tried to prevent Vermeer's rare works from being sold to parties abroad, Arnoldus Andries des Tombe purchased the work at an auction in The Hague in 1881, for only two guilders and thirty cents. At the time, it was in poor condition. Des Tombe had no heirs and donated this and other paintings to the Mauritshuis in 1902.[7]

In 2012, as part of a traveling exhibition while the Mauritshuis was being renovated and expanded, the painting was exhibited in Japan at the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, and in 2013-2014 the United States, where it was shown at the High Museum in Atlanta, the de Young Museum in San Francisco and in New York City at the Frick Collection.[8] Later in 2014 it was exhibited in Bologna, Italy. In June 2014, it was returned to the Mauritshuis museum, where it was given a more prominent place than before.[9]

References in fiction[edit]

Tracy Chevalier wrote a historical novel, also entitled Girl with a Pearl Earring (1999), fictionalizing the circumstances of the painting's creation. In the novel, Johannes Vermeer becomes close with a fictional servant named Griet (based on Chevalier's close friend Georgia Kendall), whom he hires as an assistant and has sat for him as a painting model while wearing his wife's pearl earrings.[10] The novel inspired a 2003 film[11] and 2008 play[12] of the same name. The 2003 film stars Scarlett Johansson as Griet, the girl with the pearl earring. Johansson was nominated for various awards including a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.[citation needed]

The painting also appears in the 2007 film St Trinian's, when a group of unruly schoolgirls steal it to raise funds to save their school.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Girl with a Pearl Earring, Mauritshuis. Retrieved on 8 December 2014.
  2. ^ (Dutch) Meisje met de parel, Mauritshuis. Retrieved on 8 December 2014.
  3. ^ (Dutch)Icke, V., Meisje met geen parel (translation: Girl with no pearl earring), Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Natuurkunde 80, 12, 418-419 (december 2014) (Dutch Journal of Physics)
  4. ^ (Dutch) Joris Janssen, "Curieuze ontdekking: Meisje met de parel heeft geen parel", New Scientist, 2014. Retrieved on 8 December 2014.
  5. ^ Details: Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, c. 1665, Mauritshuis. Retrieved on 9 December 2014.
  6. ^ Wadum, Jørgen (1994), Vermeer illuminated. Conservation, Restoration and Research., With contributions by L. Struik van der Loeff and R. Hoppenbrouwers, The Hague 
  7. ^ Vrij Nederland (magazine) (February 26, 1996), p. 35–69.
  8. ^ Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis, Frick Collection.
  9. ^ AP (June 20, 2014). "'Girl with Pearl Earring' comes home to Holland". ap.org/. Retrieved June 21, 2014. 
  10. ^ Griet is asked to wear both earrings in the novel even though only one will be visible. Winant, Johanna (2000-01-26), "Novel paints a picture of a famous painting", Chicago Tribune: Tempo, pg. 3 
  11. ^ Ebert, Roger (2003-12-26), "'Girl' painted in subtle shades", Chicago Sun-Times: 43 
  12. ^ Billington, Michael (2008-10-01), "Pearl's delicate shades get lost in the broad canvas of the stage", The Guardian: 36 
  13. ^ Mark Jenkins, "St. Trinian's Girls Aren't As Bad As They Wanna Be", NPR, 2009. Retrieved on 9 December 2014.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]