Luci LaSombra Vermeer Gallery

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The Girl with a Pearl Earring

The Hague, Mauritshuis

47x40 1665

This beautiful girl has turned her head and the veil hanging from her turban is not yet at equilibrium but seems to be still moving. Her gaze is alert and keen, her lips are parted and she seems about to speak. It has been thought that this is a painting of one of Vermeer's daughters, but the eldest, Maria, was only 11 in 1665.

The background is very dark, to emphasize the three-dimensionality and contrast. The jacket is in yellow ocher with a bright white collar as a contrast. The blue turban and yellow veil complete the simple, yet subtle, palette. A turban was an exotic costume in the 1660's, worn by those from remote places, the "clothing of the enemy" in the wars against the Ottoman Empire.

The painting is not made with lines but with color; there is an almost impressionistic softness about the painting, in contrast to the microscopic detail often seen in the paintings of Vermeer's contemporaries.


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