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  • Manasi Vaidya

The Girl With The Pearl Earring

The Girl With The Pearl Earring, an oil painting crafted by Johannes Veemer in 1665. He has made about 36 paintings that we are aware of, yet this one stands out the most amongst all. This painting has evoked discussions in recent decades, due to the mysterious meaning behind it. The Girl with a Pearl Earring is Vermeer’s most famous painting. It is not a portrait, but a ‘tronie’ – a painting of an imaginary figure. The expression and softness of the girl’s face, and of course, the shining pearl, visibly depict that Johannes Vermeer was a master of light.


Something which makes it so different from the other paintings, is simply that the subject of the painting is directly looking at the onlooker. She does not hold an expression as distinct as happiness, sadness, anger, astonishment, or anything of the likes. Is she turning away from you, or turning to look at you? Many may speculate that she turned around, hence was caught off-guard as she turned. She is merely an idea and represents a thought that might have crossed the painter’s mind, but she does not exist.


It is also known as the “Mona Lisa Of the North”. However, unlike the Mona Lisa which is a portrait of a real person, the girl does not represent a person on paper merely being a figment of the imagination. Unlike the Mona Lisa, it has a black backdrop further emphasizing her as the sole model for the painting. The enigma and the curiosity this picture arises in one, are what made Tracy Chevalier write a book, solely based on the painting. This book also has a film adaptation, released in 2003 and directed by Peter Webber, along the same name as this masterpiece. That painting which must have intrigued her to the point where she designs a character after her is praiseworthy.



Painting- The Girl with the Pear Earring

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