Girl with a Pearl Earring
Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) painted Het Meisje met de Parel in what is referred to by art historians as the Dutch Golden Age. "Girl with a Pearl Earring" (c. 1665-1666) simply shows the head of a young girl with a blue turban and buff coat and a pearl earring. The style of wearing a turban is of Turkish origin. The light yellow color and blue border represent typical colours in the palette of Vermeer. The type of turban worn by the young girl is unusual insofar as that no reasonable comparison has been found in the context of European painting. The tightly wrapped piece of striking ultramarine blue material, accentuates, rather than conceals, the oval shape of girl’s head. The background of the "Girl with a Pearl Earring" appears uneven and spotted and it may have had a different appearance than was originally intended. During the 1994-1995 restoration it became clear that this defect had been caused by the degraded composition of the paint used by Vermeer, and it was ascertained that the background was originally meant to have a deep greenish tone. Vermeer had glazed a very transparent layer of indigo mixed with weld over the dark black underpainting. Indigo and weld are both pigments of organic origin. Indigo is deep blue dyestuff derived from the indigo plant, weld is a natural yellow dyestuff obtained from the flowers of the wouw or woude plant as it was called in Dutch. Mixed together with a rich binding medium they form a transparent greenish tone. The signature of Vermeer is located on the upper left corner, painted with a lighter toned pigment over the dark background.
Tracy Chevalier set the historical novel Girl with a Pearl Earring within the specific geography of 17th century Delft. The similar in style "Tulip Fever" by Deborah Moggach transfers the action to Amsterdam but puts the Vermeer character at the centre. The Nieuwe Kerk of Girl with a Pearl Earring is described as being prominently in line of sight from Vermeer's house. The opportunity is not missed to give a picture perfect description of Vermeer's famous townscape View of Delft, the composition of which is explained, when Griet, the book's narrator visits her blind father. Her father's recall extends to the sky which takes up much of the painting and the sunlight on some of the buildings. Griet, as a servant in the Vermeer household is introduced to a side of the city with which she was previously unfamiliar, although surrounded by family and neighbours.
"The new was woven in with the old, like the darning in a sock."
Griet visits the apothecary's along the Koornmarket towards the Rotterdam gate for the first time as her mother had previously made up all remedies.
It is on display in the Mauritshuis in The Hague.