Girl with a Pearl Earring

The painting Girl with a Pearl Earring is one of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer's masterworks and as the name implies, uses a pearl earring for a focal point. The painting is in The Mauritius in The Hague. It is sometimes referred to as "the Mona Lisa of the North" or "the Dutch Mona Lisa".

When we look at the famous portraits painting compared to other portraits of the 1600s, it is quickly clear that this style of portraiture strays from convention. Instead of facing the viewer head-on, the girl, who was never identified, almost longingly glances over her shoulder. The ornament has always been a mystery to art historians who have analyzed the beatiful girl portraits painting. The girl's drab clothes suggest that she was of a lower class, which directly clashes with the wealth and status suggested by such a large pearl earring.

In his understanding of light, Vermeer was far beyond his contemporaries. From the subtle gradation of light falling across the face to the thoughtful execution of the pearl's reflected light across the jaw, in the Girl with a Pearl Earring Vermeer achieves perfection. A major part of the beauty in the Girl with the Pearl Earring painting is the pearl itself. Vermeer placed it at a key point that immediately draws the viewer's eye to it. The pearl is nestled in an otherwise dark area to truly bring the image to life. Without it, the Girl with the Pearl Earring painting would immediately lack the vivacity and allure that has made it so famous.

The other significant aspect of Vermeer's style was in his paints and layering techniques. His use of lead-tin yellow and the extravagantly expensive ultramarine were his signature colors. In the Girl with a Pearl Earring Vermeer once again picks these two colors to create radiant hues. Since Vermeer understood how light subtly changed shades of color, he normally created an first blue layer of color to his works. Gradually, more color would be added on top of this. For Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring was a perfect chance to show of this technique. How beautiful she is!