Beyond Gobbledigook

Johannes Vermeer. Girl With a Pearl Earring, c. 1665. Oil on canvas, 44.5 cm × 39 cm (17.5 in × 15.4 in); The Hauge, Mauritshuis.

Posted in Oil on canvas by Jessica on June 21, 2009

Johannes Vermeer. Girl With a Pearl Earring, c. 1665. Oil on canvas, 44.5 cm × 39 cm (17.5 in × 15.4 in); The Hauge, Mauritshuis.

I love Jan Vermeer, but I wasn’t really interested in this painting. And I have to admit that I am putting this painting up because I want to talk about the 2003 film. However, I do want to say a few things about this painting. It is interesting how one thing–this pearl–completely changes the painting. The pearl becomes the focal point and makes it unique. If it were not there, would this painting be as “special”? I am inclined to believe “yes,” because I think there is something very pretty about the blue head wrap that is so bright and the slight, awkward parting of the young woman’s lips.

The 2003 film of the same name is based on the the fictitious novel of the same name, that tells of how Jan Vermeer came to create the painting. I have not yet read the novel, but just recently saw the film. In it, Vermeer, played by Colin Firth, is married with a family and hires a second house maid, Griet, played by Scarlett Johansson, who really does look like the girl in the painting. Griet and Vermeer become very close as she becomes his muse for a few paintings. She then sits for him, wearing his wife’s pearl earring, therefore creating Girl With a Pearl Earring.

The movie was a quiet one–there wasn’t much talking between Vermeer and Griet. I have seen self-portraits of Vermeer, but I had forgotten that he had long hair, so it kind of a shock to see Firth with long hair. I enjoyed the historical accuracy, like Vermeer showing Griet his camera obscura or Vermeer manually mixing his colors.

I know this story is fake, but I feel that the girl inside me just really, really want to believe it.


One Response

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  1. chapwoman said, on June 21, 2009 at 6:17 AM

    i like her.

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