Famous Portraits – Girl With A Pearl Earring

While now it is regarded as one of Netherlands’ finest painters of the 17th century, Johannes Vermeer was only discovered much later in the 19th century when his works caught the attention of a French art critic and a German historian.

Vermeer lived in a small house together with his many children, wife and her mother. There in his studio he has arranged and reproduced a series of domestic activities such as writing or reading a letter and playing a musical instrument as well as social gatherings. One of his paintings of a young girl has attracted many viewers.

The “Girl with a Pearl Earring” is sometimes considered to be the “Mona Lisa of the North”. Her identity is unknown. The portrait depicts a young woman half turned towards the viewer. Her garments are not common and, while her dress could be something worn by a child, the headpiece is probably inspired by another painting.

Whatever the case, Vermeer has adopted his two usual colors for the headwear: bright yellow and ultramarine. This contrasts greatly with the dark background that has also been preferred by the artist to highlight the face and make it appear three dimensional.

The central point of the portrait, the pearl earring, is sitting in the shade and its outline is not presented through hard lines but rather suggested with a few touches of gray and white.


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