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MASTERPIECES OF ART IN THE CENTURIES / THE HAGUE – Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring

joannes.vermeer.1.1Regarded as Vermeer’s masterpiece, this canvas is often referred to as the Mona Lisa of the North or the Dutch Mona Lisa. The Girl with a Pearl Earring (or girl with a turban), is one of the most famous paintings by Jan Vermeer, probably painted around the year 1666. The girl in this painting is believed to be Vermeer’s eldest daughter, Maria, who was about twelve or thirteen-years-old at the time it was created. Girl with a Pearl Earring is one of over forty images of women created by Vermeer and thus it is obvious that he had a keen interest in women’s socio-cultural roles. The turban being worn in Girl with a Pearl Earring was a popular prop at the time and its elaborate folds and rich materials were a great way of showing off the artists’ skill.vermeer.1.1

This little gem made with oil on canvas with brushes and colors, measuring only 44,5×39 cm, and is kept in the Mauritshuis Museum, Plein 29, 2511 CS Den Haag. It is not a portrait, but a a painting of an imaginary figure. Tronies depict a certain type or character; in this case a girl in exotic dress, wearing an oriental turban and an improbably large pearl in her ear. Johannes Vermeer was the master of light. With this painting the viewer is captured by the subject and believes they have caught her attention and caused her to turn her head. This is shown here in the softness of the girl’s face and the glimmers of light on her moist lips. And of course, the shining pearl.

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