Painting Of Art "Girl With A Pearl Earring"

The art piece I selected for this assignment was Girl with a Pearl Earring by the Netherland native artist Johannes Vermeer. This artwork is one of his most well-known pieces. It is an oil painting on a ‎44.5 cm × 39 cm (17.5 in × 15 in) canvas, completed in 1665. It currently resides in the Mauritshuis Museum in the Hague. The painting shows a young woman wearing a golden and pastel blue turban, large pearl earrings, and an aged copper color jacket with a white undershirt. The Artist’s message of the painting is derived from the concepts indicated by the mystic St Francis De Sales in his book the Introductions to the Devout Life.

In De Sales’ book he writes about women and how they should protect their ears from unchaste words and should be able to filter through all of the impure words and listen to the clean ones only, also known as “the oriental pearls of the gospel”. By relating De Sales’ composition to Vermeer’s painting, I am able to conclude that Johannes was trying to promote virtue or chastity.

The artist uses elements of design to help convey his message. The color used throughout the painting conveys a more dark and cold theme. The jacket worn by the young woman is cool tone, it seems to have been old. The original color may have been gold but by the time the woman has painted the jacket was worn and more distressed; turning it into a more oxidized copper color rather than a gold color.

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This helps add to the artist’s message by showing how dark the atmosphere was and possibly what the woman was going through. The texture also plays a role. The texture is dry and raggidy, which adds to the distressed factor and the tired feeling. The principles of design also help convey the artist message. The scale/proportion plays a huge role. The scale of the pearl earring helps convey the artist message that the earring help “shield” a woman’s ear from impure, or unchaste words. The artist must have believed the larger the earrings the purer the woman would look, thus making her more acceptable in that era. The focal point of the painting is the woman’s earring, it simply puts more emphasis on the fact that the earring plays a role in what the artist was hoping to accomplish in his message.

In more recent years, there have been scientist who have taken X-ray images of the canvas. And have found information showing which Vermeer used. The X-ray images revealed the Johannes used a distinct sharp pattern of light and dark marks. This is unusual only since there is no evidence of there ever being previous guidelines. This unusual site helps provide evidence that supports the theory of Johannes Vermeer using camera obscura. It is also supported by the fact that an art critic has made suggestions that the contrasting dark and light is a direct translation of the light being viewed through the camera obscura. This would help account for a bulk of the photographic directness through Vermeer’s work. Johannes Vermeer was trying to convey the message that women needed to be shielded from unworldly things. The pearl earrings “shield” the woman’s ears from impure and unchaste things. The elements of design helped create a mood for the painting. The principles of design helped put emphasis on the main message, the earrings. The additional report about the X-ray helps account for the photographic directness throughout the canvas.

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Painting Of Art "Girl With A Pearl Earring". (2021, Dec 24). Retrieved from

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