The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer, 1665

The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Vermeer

High Resolution Prints related to "The Girl with the Pearl Earring"

Girl with a Pearl Earring, circa 1665-6
Girl with a Pearl Earring (detail)
Girl with a Pearl Earring, c.1665
Girl with a Pearl Earring

One of the most famous of Jan Vermeer's works of art, some say equivalent to Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Painted in an interval of 10 years, 1665-1675. Oil on canvas. 44.5 x 39 cm. Now hanging at the Mauritshuis museum, in The Hague.

Youthful womanhood remains the centre of Vermeer"s works, and no other Dutch painter ever placed woman on a pedestal as he did. Rembrandt"s sensuality was as alien to him as was Jan Steen"s jocularity. He was a slave to his tender admiration of the sex, and his experience partook less of reality than of a dream.

The noblest expression of this mentality is his Head of a Girl in the Mauritshuis, perhaps the most sublime representation of a young girl to be found in the whole artistic production of the Netherlands.

The word mystery is as a rule of little weight, but here it comes spontaneously to our lips, for the face expresses something undefined and puzzling that for ever asks a question to which there is no answer. This expression has caused the little picture to be mentioned in the same breath with Leonardo"s Mona Lisa.

But, whereas the Italian artist intentionally evoked something eternally inconceivable, it is as if the Dutchman succeeded in creating a similar atmosphere by unconsciously entering into the spirit of his model.

From out the dark background the head shines like ivory; there is surprise in the wide-open eyes and slightly parted lips. The girl wears a yellowish green jacket and a blue turban, the yellow and blue ends of which hang down over her neck. Here Vermeer has limited his range of colors, hitherto so varied, and created a composition in his favorite tonal contrast, yellow and blue.

The light glides almost imperceptibly over the girl"s face, but is intensely reflected in her eyes and in the pearl hanging from her ear. The brushwork is decided and at the same time the artist"s touch is light as down. Veth once wrote of this picture: "A soothing star, resplendent under the broad, nocturnal sky."

More than once Vermeer attempted to reproduce a girl"s head in this simple manner. The picture in the Due d"Arenberg"s collection closely resembles the one at The Hague. But the features are devoid of grace, the eyes too far apart and the tightly closed mouth much too wide.

The picture is also wanting in charm and refinement. Nevertheless, the colors and composition of both pictures are much alike; and here too the handling of light is very effective.

Other paintings/pictures tagged "Vermeer Portraits"

Popular Works by Johannes Vermeer

Popular Works by other Baroque Art artists