Girl with a Pearl Earring
Jan Vermeer (Johannes Vermeer, Johan Vermeer)
Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis, The Hague, South Holland, The Netherlands
Why is the Girl with the pearl earring Vermeer’s best-loved painting? 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.
Equally important, though, 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.
Then there is the girl herself, who gazes at us, wide-eyed, her sensual mouth parted. She makes an uninhibited, somewhat expectant impression that cannot help exciting our interest, even though we have no idea who she is. (mauritshuis.nl)