Posts Tagged ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’

Download a High-resolution image of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring for free

March 26th, 2013

Some museums are making high-resolution digital images their paintings available to the public. A detailed and finely calibrated color image of Vermeer’s iconic Girl with a Pearl Earring is downloadable from an NPR article on the two Vermeer paintings currently on display in the USA. Click here, scroll down to the painting , click on it to enlarge and save it you hard drive. Enjoy, it’s the best I have seen so far.

Vermeer’s stunning Woman in Blue Reading a Letter is also accessible on the same page but a far better image can be downloaded (registration required) at the Rijksmuseum.

If you are keen on collecting the best digital images available of Vermeer’s paintings, visit my page here: Viewing Vermeer on the WWW

Vermeer spinoff

March 12th, 2013

I am not a fanatic about most Vermeer elaborations but I must admit, Devorah Sperber put more brains and time into her endeavor than most. She retooled Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring using 5,024 spools of colored thread arranged in seemingly abstract patterns that suddenly pull into focus when viewed through a circular device resembling a crystal ball (After Vermeer 2). See it here.

Vermeer lectures & events in San Francisco

March 9th, 2013

Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring will be at the De Young in San Francisco until June 2.  Here’s a link to the related lectures & events page if you are in the area.

To whom it may concern

January 10th, 2010

My Essential Vermeer website gets a pretty lot of traffic, naturally, considering it is dedicated to a single fine artist. It is sobering, but not altogether surprising, to know that any second-tier Hollywood actress, NBA player or recent video game generates infinitely more web traffic than Vermeer, Rembrandt  and  Leonardo da Vinci combined.

To whom it may concern, below is a breakdown of all 37 paintings by Vermeer with the number of page views during December, a slow month. I doubt you could call it a popularity contest in the strictest sense; many people come to study the paintings they need to understand rather than the ones they love.

However, most works are there where I would have expected.  Girl with a Pearl Earring has simply had too much good press not to be number one. The Milkmaid, as it has done for more than 300 years, marvels anyone who has ever seen it whether one knows it is a Vermeer or not.  The Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window comes in a comfortable third perhaps more for its captivating  image than for the way it is painted. Odd I would say, is the appearance of the Frick Mistress and Maid near the top. Vermeer specialists rarely cast more than a sidelong glance at it because, perhaps, from an iconographical standpoint, there is not a real lot to talk about.

Frankly, I am a bit surprised that the mesmerizing Woman in Blue Reading a Letter and iconic Little Street are stuck midway down the list. As expected, the two London virginal pictures, much fussed over by critics, lack popular appeal. The Lacemaker, once the artist’s most recognizable image, has fallen from the collective conscience down to 26. Even the newly attributed  and still unfamiliar A Young Woman Seated at the Virginal , now in a New York Private collection, places a bit higher.

I dutifully accept popular verdict  except for the Woman with a Lute, almost last. While I admit the canvas seriously lacks nuance (due its near disastrous state of conservation), it nonetheless overwhelms me every I have the privilege of seeing it again. I find the unspeakable delicacy of the lute player  ever more touching each time I find her still tucked away, even pampered, within  one of Vermeer’s boldest compositions.

  1. Girl with a Pearl Earring  – 3,892
  2. The Milkmaid – 2,481
  3. Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window  –  2,058
  4. Girl with a Wine Glass – 1,623
  5. Mistress and Maid – 1,589
  6. Woman with a Pearl Necklace – 1,524
  7. The Astronomer – 1,513
  8. Woman with a Water Pitcher – 1,477
  9. The Lover Letter – 1,473
  10. A Lady Writing – 1,465
  11. The Art of Painting – 1,459
  12. The Geographer – 1,410
  13. The Concert – 1,377
  14. View of Delft – 1,331
  15. Officer and Laughing Girl – 1,326
  16. St Praxedis – 1,316
  17. Woman in Blue Reading a Letter – 1,301
  18. The Procuress – 1,276
  19. The Little Street – 1,253
  20. Girl with a Red Hat – 1,181
  21. The Music Lesson  – 1,172
  22. Diana and her Companions  – 1,158
  23. A Young Woman Seated at the Virginal – 1,131
  24. Girl Interrupted in her Music – 1,131
  25. Woman Holding a Balance – 1,121
  26. The Lacemaker – 1,041
  27. Christ in the House of Martha and Mary – 1,015
  28. Allegory of Faith – 960
  29. Lady Wring a Letter with her Maid – 958
  30. Guitar Player – 955
  31. Maid Asleep – 924
  32. A Lady Standing at the Virginals – 890
  33. A Lady Seated at the Virginals – 918
  34. Study of a Young Woman – 913
  35. Woman with a Lute  – 832
  36. Girl with a Flute – 798
  37. The Glass of Wine – 788

There she goes again

November 24th, 2009

Like it or not, Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring is in for another lengthy hike. This time, she’s back to Japan.

On 27 October, 2009, the directors of the Mauritshuis and media company Asahi Shimbun have agreed to organize a traveling exhibition of major works of art from the Mauritshuis in 2012. It is anticipated that over forty works from The Hague will be exhibited in Tokyo and subsequently in Kobe. Amongst the works included are well-known paintings, such as the Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer and the late Self-Portrait by Rembrandt.

The museum will tour a selection of its rich collection during the renovation of the historic building known as the Mauritshuis. This extensive renovation requires the closure of the museum for the public. The View of Delft will remain at the Mauritshuis.

Maria Vermeer?

January 25th, 2009

According to Benjamin Binstock (Vermeer’s Family Secrets: Genius, Discovery, and the Unknown Apprentice), seven works generally attributed to Johannes Vermeer were painted by the master’s eldest daughter, Maria. Maria also receives the dubious credit of having forged her father’s works as a means to pay the family’s debts to the baker.

For a painter whose entire known oeuvre comprises only 36 paintings, that smacks of a pretty hefty revision.

Although I have not read the book yet, it appears that Binstock bases his conclusions on presumed inconsistencies in technique, materials, artistic level and reinterpretation of known archival documents.

Binstock has jumped into a snake pit to say the very least.

First of all, notwithstanding popular conception and outward appearances, one of the characteristics of Vermeer’s oeuvre is its very “inconsistency,” especially when compared to those of other artists who worked in the same genre mode. A Terborch always looks pretty much like a Terborch, Van Mieris ditto and many Dou’s are perhaps too much like other Dou’s. Many Vermeer’s do not look like each other, not just seven.

A visit to the Rijksmuseum can be instructive. Without previous knowledge, I would have never been able to link more than two of the four Vermeer’s there to the same artist even when they were hung in close proximity. Do the evident differences in style and technique make the rugged Milkmaid any less a Vermeer than the enamel-like perfection of the Love Letter?  Having toiled 30 years day in and day out attempting to emulate the his techniques and outward appearance in my own work, Vermeer’s versatility never ceases to amaze me.

And what to say about the oversized View of Delft, which Thoré-Burger described as “painted with a trowel,” and the miniscule Lacemaker, a work as carefully crafted as the lace the young girl is making?  Two distant and distinct worlds.

BTW, Thoré didn’t know how right he was: laboratory examinations show Vermeer added sand to texturize his paint and evoke the roughness of the ancient constructions of the View. Being a ceaseless experimenter, he once used gold leaf to imitate a metallic fixture and left traces of compass lines in the Procuress around the spherical body the wine jug. Obviously, his use of the camera obscura positions him among the most ductile artists of the time. It is best not to underestimate his depth, technical inventiveness and broadness of artistic vision.

I believe it takes years of close-hand study of the pictures themselves to grasp Vermeer’s inconspicuous  complexity. But the vision we now have of his oeuvre is both logical and consistent as much as possible with such an illusive artist. Please consult the most up-to-date resource in regards, Walter Liedtke ’s brand-new monograph, a monument of scholarship, intuition and rationality, VERMEER: The Complete Paintings.

Lastly, as far as I am aware, no new Vermeer-related documentation has surfaced in years. Binstock must, by force, engage in very serious reshuffling of well-know facts, none of which tell us anything significant about Maria.