Girl With A Pearl Earring Essay

326 WordsJan 27, 20122 Pages
VISUAL ANALYSIS: GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING Vermeer’s paintings are indeed “a reflection of reality”, rather than art. Most of his paintings, such as The Little Street and The Love Letter, are like mirrors that capture all the details that reality has to offer. However Girl with a Pearl Earring is not a “reflection”; it displays the depth of thought of the painter on which the viewer can only speculate. Maybe the most well-known painting Vermeer has produced, Girl with a Pearl Earring is a special piece of art becuase one of a few portraits without a solid background. Although at first glimpse the background appears to be pitch black, recent analysis indicates that Vermeer had painted a translucent layer of green which has faded over time, over the dark under-painting, to create a lustrous tone that sharply contrasts the warm skin tone of the Girl, amplifying the light tone in the object, thus producing a much more three-dimensional optical effect of the object. This technique provokes a series of thoughts in the viewer: why does Vermeer want us to see only the Girl? What significance does this Girl hold in his life? One can appreciate the smooth texture of the Girl’s facial features, the radiance in her eyes and her lovely vermilion lips. An intriguing detail would be the absence of the line that defines the profile of the left hand side of her nose, which suggests that Vermeer might have painted the portrait with the help of a camera obscura that tends to alleviate the tonal range of the image, causing the lines to disappear. The Pearl earring hangs subtly in the shadow from behind the Girl’s head. The sparkle off the earring shatters the shadowy nature of the painting and becomes the most significant spot in the portrait, implying that beauty is hidden in ordinary life, just as beauty is portrayed in this unknown ordinary
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