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Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

    Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

    Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer was created in 1665. The painting is in Mauritshuis, The Hague. The size of the work is 44,5 x 39 cm and is made as an oil on canvas.

    A young woman looks over her shoulder at us. She holds her head slightly to one side, there is a gleam in her greyish-blue eyes, and her lips are slightly parted and moist. On her head is a turban that she has wound from two pieces of material, one blue and one yellow, and she is adorned with a pearl earring. It is from this oversized jewel in the middle of the composition that the painting derives its title.

    The painting provides a rich sample of every aspect of Vermeer’s virtuoso painting technique. The face is modelled very softly, not in great detail but with gradual transitions and invisible brushstrokes. The clothing is depicted more schematically and enlivened with small dots of paint suggesting reflected light – one of Vermeer’s trademark features. Even so, the artist has clearly indicated differences between materials – for instance between the white collar, painted in impasto, and the drier paint of the turban, for which he used the precious pigment ultramarine. But the most remarkable detail is the pearl. This consists of little more than two brushstrokes: a bright highlight at upper left and the soft reflection of the white collar on the underside. (Read more in Mauritshuis, The Hague)

    About the Artist: Dutch Baroque Period painter Johannes Vermeer specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. It is unclear where and with whom Vermeer apprenticed as a painter. There is some speculation that Carel Fabritius may have been his teacher. On 29 December 1653, Vermeer became a member of the Guild of Saint Luke, a trade association for painters. The guild’s records make clear that Vermeer did not pay the usual admission fee. It was a year of plague, war, and economic crisis; Vermeer was not alone in experiencing difficult financial circumstances… Read more

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