French Website

Share |



Jan Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring. (1665). Mona Lisa of North.
New version : 12.2012.

To send this page to a friend

To send this page to a friend

 HomePage  Newsletter  Analysis   Movements  Painters  Kinds  Techniques  History   Museums  Exposures   Galleries   Artists  Plays  Advertisements  Shop  Contact us     Who are us?  Bonds  

Jan Vermeer (1632-1675), Girl with a Pearl Earring. (1665). Mona Lisa of North.

The painting is also called : The Mona Lisa of North in reference to Leonardo da Vinci and Mona Lisa but this Mona Lisa there is much less wise and much more sensual. 
One can develop during hours the brilliance of the eyes, the lips wet, the accessories, the turban and the pearl, the feeling of presence which emerges from the painting; the almost photographic precision of the touch of the painter, essence is not there. 
The essence comes from the feeling of intimacy which is woven between the model and the spectator when this one looks at the picture. 
Few portraits make to such a degree of proximity between spectator and subject represented. The glance is of an almost violent and tough penetration. The young girl with the pearl is there, close to us, apart from time, beyond the centuries….
The painting was restored in 1994, we will see that the reflections and the light play a big role, many parts of the face and of the accessories are represented so as to hang a maximum of light. On the wet lips and in the middle of the eyes one guesses the reflection of a window…

The point of view of the spectator is at the level of the eyes of the model. The eyes in the eyes it is thus that the young girl with the pearl looks at us.

The left eye is placed on the corresponding tension field. The 4 natural points of interest encircle the totality of the face. The medium of the face coincides with the geographical center of the picture.

While highlighting the zones which reflect more the light one notes that the left parts of the face, the turban and clothing are concerned. By positioning the model of three quarter and turned towards the source of lighting the painter accentuates the zones of reflection and contrast between the clear zones and the dark zones.

The picture is built on the ascending diagonal. Capped by the turban the face is not round but oval and slightly leaning.

Details : 

At the time the turban is an accessory little used in the portraits. One knows a portrait of Michael Sweerts: The Young man with the turban holding a bouquet (1656) and a supposed self-portrait of Jan van Eyck: The Man with the Red Turban (1433) or
the Self-portrait in Eastern Costume of Rembrandt (1631).

The pearl is an ambivalent object, it is symbol of chastity and of purity in the biblical tradition, but, in vanities of the time it means also lust and sin. This one acts like a mirror, it reflects the light of the window on the left and the whiteness of the collar downwards. 
The light is natural, it comes from the left, the model is enlightened as by the beam of a projector.
Colors : 
Harmonize and contrasts.
Contrasts between cold and hot colors. Contrasts between complementary.
Similar Painting.

Jan Vermeer. Portrait of an young woman. (1666).

Even posture for this portrait carried out one year later. Same accessories beads and turban also, however the model is less expressive and especially much less pleasant to look at.

Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres. Portrait of the Countess of Larue. (1812).

Ingres is an immense draftsman his acuity psychological and the precision of its feature indeed make of it a portraitist of great talent. It represents with meticulousness the human aspect. Two centuries passed, the turban became a veil, a collar comes to supplement the pearl (much smaller) of the ear. The posture is more face.

Camile Corot. The Woman with a Pearl Earring. (1869).

The posture is identical to that of Mona lisa of da Vinci. The hands are cross. The costume is sober. The model looks at the spectator of a manner melancholic person, the pearl is related to the face and there is a ring with the right hand, the fingers are extremely long.