The woman stands, a dark, ill-lit scene surrounds her, making it seem 3D, almost real; that is the girl with the pearl earring.
Girl with the pearl earring is perhaps one of the most famous paintings to ever exist, also known as The “Mona Lisa of the North” this art piece by the dutch artist Johannes Vermeer is undoubtedly his most recognized work.
Vermeer and his style
Johannes Vermeer, a dutch painter born in 1632, in Delft, Netherlands is one of the most celebrated artists of all time. Although he was not very well known in his time, his work was posthumously recognized by critics.
Vermeer portrayed typical scenes in his art, ordinary everyday scenes. People doing everyday tasks, nothing out of the box,but these scenes were very skillfully painted. The perspective and the orientation of light was all very precise. For instance his painting The Music Lesson (1665), at first glance it seems a pretty simple painting of a teacher giving a piano lesson but there’s always more than meets the eye, the tiles show a perspective leading up to the student, the light coming through the window forces the observer to focus their attention right in the middle. The observer is not conscious of these things but influences them in some way.
What is so special about it?
A painting’s prevalence is not just determined by how good the painting itself is, but what the painting represents,the political environment during the time it was painted, and controversies it is involved in.
Girl with the pearl earring was painted in 1665, which shows a young woman looking directly at the observer. She can be seen wearing a turban, a mustard cardigan and a pearl earring. This painting is different from all of vermeer’s paintings, the lady is not doing any chore rather she just looks at the observer, this along with her inconspicuous eyebrows led to it’s comparison with the Mona Lisa. but it is not a portrait, it is a tronie.
Her lips are slightly parted, her gaze is at the observer. It looks almost 3D. Vermeer used a technique called sfumato for this painting, a technique that involves blending of colors to give a blurry or hazy appearance. Vermeer left out a lot of details,It is a tronie
This was painted during a time when the church or the royals held power and depicted a working class girl. The pearl earring could be ironic. also the pearl is too big to be real, therefore the critics speculate that he could’ve intentionally painted it that way, to make it seem fake and also 17th century dutch women did not wear turbans.
Vermeer ‘s work was assessed in the 19th century by a critic, which led to his recognition and became widely mainstream only in the 21st century.
A novel has also been written around this painting called Girl with the Pearl Earring in 1999, written by Tracy Chevalier and later in 2003, a movie was also made, inspired from the book, with Scarlet Johansen playing the protagonist.
The painting sits Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands