This iconic painting was by the legendary Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer.
It got referred to by different names until it was known as “The girl with Pearl Earring”.
In the second century, it got a formal name based on the girl’s jewelry; particularly the earring. It was voted the most beautiful artwork in the Netherlands by the Dutch public in 2006. Since 1902, the picture has been in the Mauritshuis museum to research treatments.
The painting is 44.5 cm (17.5 in) height and 39 cm (15 in) broad, and it is painted on canvas. It’s labeled “IVMeer,” however, there’s no date on it. It is supposed to have been completed in 1665.
The painting is called tronie. In Dutch, a tronie is a painting of a face that is not a portrait. A girl wears a wide pearl as an earring in the picture. She also has a light blue and pale yellow oriental turban over her head.
Furthermore, in 2014, there were suspicions raised about the painting. Vincent Icke, a Dutch astrophysicist, claimed that the earring’s material looked more like polished tin than pearl. He claimed it due to the specular reflection, pear form, and massive size of the earring.
Although since the painting’s most recent restoration in 1994, the gentle color combination and intensity of the girl’s stare towards its spectator have significantly intensified. The black backdrop, which is now somewhat mottled, was once a deep enamel-like green discovered during the repair.
A thin transparent layer of paint—a glaze—was applied over the black background to get this appearance. However, the green glaze’s two organic pigments, indigo, and weld have faded.
Over the ages, the picture has been known with a variety of names in different nations. It could have been one of the two tronies “painted in the Turkish fashion” (Twee tronijnen geschildert op sijn Turx) included in Vermeer’s inventory when he died. It could have been the piece described as a “Portrait in Antique Costume, unusually artistic” in the catalog of a painting sale in Amsterdam in 1696.
The picture was renamed a girl with a turban (Meisje met tulband) after its transfer to Mauritshuis. It got noticed in the 1675 inventory that the turban had become a fashion accessory of some intrigue. It was during the period of European conflicts against the Turks. In 1995, the term Meisje met de Parel (Girl with a Pearl) seemed more fitting.
The painting got avoided for foreign parties as a buying product under Victor de Stuers’ advice. In the end, the artwork was sold to Arnoldus Andries des Tombe at the Hague in 1881. At current purchasing power, it got sold for about €24.
The painting had an awful condition. Andries seemed to have no successors. However, in 1902 he gave this and many other works to the Mauritshuis.
In 1965 and 1966, the painting was part of a Vermeer exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The artwork got displayed in Japan at the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, in 2012. It was shown as part of a traveling exhibition while the Mauritshuis was being renovated and extended. In the United States, it got presented at the High Museum in Atlanta, the de Young Museum in San Francisco, and the Frick Collection in New York City between 2013 and 2014. Later, when displayed in Bologna, Italy, in 2014. It got restored to the Mauritshuis museum in June 2014, with the Mauritshuis stating that the painting would not be leaving the museum in the future.
Poems were among the first literary adaptations of the picture. It is the opportunity for Yann Lovelock to explore the connection between imagined beauty represented on canvas and lived experience in his sestina “Vermeer’s Head of a Girl.
- S. Di Piero envisaged how Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with Pearl Earring” would appear in the current environment of Haight Street in San Francisco, while Marilyn Chandler McEntyre commented on the girl’s quiet, self-possessed demeanor.
In addition, there have been two fictional appearances. It appears as the general title of Marta Morazzoni’s collection of five short tales set in the Baroque era, La ragazza col turbante (Girl with a Turban, 1986).In 1658, a Dutch art dealer sold Vermeer’s painting to an eccentric Dane, as depicted in the title narrative. The two males can only respond to the idealization of the feminine in art because they are indifferent to women in real life. The events surrounding the painting’s creation exist exaggerated in Tracy Chevalier’s historical novel Girl with a Pearl Earring, released in 1999. There, Vermeer has a close relationship with a servant, whom he hires as an assistant and for whom he has modeled while wearing his wife’s earrings.
The picture also got included in the 2007 film St Trinian’s, in which a group of rowdy schoolgirls steals it to raise money for their school’s renovation. During that time, other painters made iconic use of Vermeer’s picture as well. As a statement on the lack of black figures in museums and galleries, Ethiopian American Awol Erizku remade it as a print in 2009, highlighting a young black woman and replaced the pearl earring with bamboo earrings. “Girl with a Bamboo Earring” is the title of his piece. In 2014, Banksy, an English street artist, recreated the picture as a mural in Bristol, replacing the pearl earring with an alarm box and naming the piece “Girl with a Pierced Eardrum.”
In 2018, the painting was scanned by hirox’s high-resolution microscope, resulting in an ultrahigh-resolution panoramic image of 93,205 x 108,565 pixels created from 9,100 different scans to investigate Vermeer’s technique. It is the first 10-billion-pixel panoramic photograph of a painting.
The artwork is of exceptional quality. Many aspiring painters look forward to it and try to emulate Johannes’ work and techniques. The image has an intimate feel about it.
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