She is still leading Europeana’s top ten. For months already, Girl with a pearl earring by Johannes Vermeer has been one of the most viewed objects on Europeana. What is it about this painting that fascinates the viewers?
“It must have something to do with the fact that the girl looks over her shoulder, as though hoping to see who is standing behind her. This draws the viewer into the picture, suggesting that he is the one who has made the girl turn her head”, explain the curators at the Mauritshuis, the museum that holds the painting.
“Equally important”, the Mauritshuis curators continue, “are Vermeer’s fresh colours, virtuoso technique and subtle rendering of light effects. The turban is enlivened, for example, with the small highlights that are Vermeer’s trademark. The pearl, too, is very special, consisting of little more than two brushstrokes: a bright accent at its upper left and the soft reflection of the white collar on its underside.”
With Europeana, you can zoom in to see the finest details of the painting, from the famous brushstrokes accentuating the earring to paint cracks.
Or maybe it’s the mystery surrounding the painting that was the source of inspiration for Tracy Chevalier’s novel and a film with Scarlett Johannsen. Very little is known about this work. When exactly was it painted, who commissioned the work, and most importantly who is this girl that has captivated us with her gentle gaze?
Please share with us what you like the most about this painting.