The Girl with the Pearl Earring (1665) by Johannes Vermeer



One of Johannes Vermeer's masterworks, The Girl with the Peal Earring is a 'tronie' - a form of portrait common in 17th century Dutch painting that features the subject in fantastical costume. The portrait anchors around the titular pearl earring, and the girl stares at the viewer with a complex mixture of emotions. It is unknown if the work was commissioned, or even who for. Pearls were an important symbol of status and wealth in 17th century Dutch society, and so the subject is most likely depicted as a noble of some sort. During recent restorations of the work, the subtle colors and intimacy of the girl's gaze were greatly enhanced.

Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675; also known by the first names Johan or Jan) was a Dutch painter who specialized in exquisite, domestic interior scenes of middle class life. Vermeer was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime. He seems never to have been particularly wealthy, leaving his wife (Catharina Bolenes ) and children (around 10 surviving at the time) in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings. Vermeer worked slowly and with great care (only producing maybe 3 paintings a year), using bright colors and sometimes expensive pigments, with a preference for cornflower blue and yellow. He is particularly renowned for his masterly treatment and use of light in his work. Vermeer painted mostly domestic interior scenes. Almost all his paintings are apparently set in two smallish rooms in his house in Delft, as they show the same furniture and decorations in various arrangements and they often portray the same people, mostly women. Recognized as an accomplished painter during his lifetime in Delft and The Hague - he was elected three times to be the head of the Guild of Saint Luke, a painter's guild - he nevertheless vanished into obscurity after his death for around two centuries, until being rediscovered in the 19th century Vermeer was rediscovered by Gustav Friedrich Waagen and Théophile Thoré-Bürger, who published an essay attributing sixty-six pictures to him (although only thirty-four paintings are universally attributed to him today); consequently, he is now acknowledged as one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age.



Includes a border on all sides to allow for matting and framing.