Girl with a Pearl Earring, c. 1665
Johannes Vermeer

Did we just call out her name?  Is she turning to us to whisper a secret?  We lose ourselves in her gaze, and all of a sudden we feel a quickening of the heart…a charge of energy.

We are in the presence of a masterpiece.
Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Considered one of the most talented painters in the Dutch Golden Age, Vermeer was a genius in enhancing the sense of vibrancy and mystery through his paints.

How did he achieve the intimacy of this smile?
Look closely at the young girl’s mouth.  Two small white dots on either side of her mouth, echoes the highlights in her eyes and the light on her pearl earring.
Voila!  The young girl’s half smile is enlivened!

How did Vermeer achieve the delicious colors of the turban, the cloak?
The rich blue of her turban: The artist procured the blue rock, lapis lazuli, from Afghanistan traders. He then hand-ground the hard rock to powder making that incredible ultramarine blue.
And her vibrant cloak:  Yellow flowers gathered and boiled making that special golden earthy color.

But knowing the “how” dims not at all our reverence for the painting.  Returning to that face with the liquid eyes and sensual smile, we once again bask in the delight of being in the presence of a true and timeless MASTERPIECE.

Girl with a Pearl Earring:  Dutch Paintings From the Mauritshuis can be seen in a rare traveling exhibit at:

de Young Museum, San Francisco:
January 26 – June 2, 2013

High Museum of Art, Atlanta:
June 22 – September 29, 2013

The Frick Collection, New York:
October 22, 2013 – January 21, 2014

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