From: de Young Museum Limited Edition: 45 Exhibition: Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis Material: Printed vinyl Dimensions: 35" x 72" (88cm x 182cm)
Hanging Hardware Included
Tracy Chevalier may have brought Girl with a Pearl Earring into popular consciousness with an historical novel by the same name, but actually very little is known about this painting and Johannes Vermeer’s work in general.
The painting is a tronie--a painted bust of a sitter who was not intended to be identifiable. A style popularized by Rembrandt in 1630, a tronie, which means face, often focuses on a unique facial expression or an exotic costume...or say, a pearl earring.
Girl with a Pearl Earring was featured on the de Young Museum's banner to promote its exhibition that featured this and other masterpieces of the Dutch Golden Age belonging to the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague.
At the heart of the exhibition of 35 paintings from the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague, is Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665). Sometimes called the Dutch Mona Lisa, the painting is a tronie, that is, a head not meant to be a conventional portrait. Art historians wonder if Vermeer used a camera obscura to photograph his subjects because of the glowing quality of the creamy tones of the girl’s skin. Vermeer added intensity to his work with ultramarine pigments on the turban and neck, and added depth and definition with red and brown ochres. It was Dutch custom to use a dark background to offset the subject, creating a three dimensional effect. During its 1994 restoration, art restorers discovered that the dark background that Vermeer had intended to be deep enamel green has become mottled and faded with time.
Arnoldus Andries des Tombe purchased the painting in 1881 for $1.31 at an auction and donated it in 1902 to the Mauritshuis, which before this exhibition, had not lent a large body of its holdings in nearly 30 years. The exhibition included other 17th century Dutch masterpieces such as The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius, Susanna by Rembrandt, and Vase of Flowers by Rachel Ruysch, one of few female painters of the era.
Girl with a Pearl Earring covers the entire front of the banner used by the de Young to promote the exhibition. The back of the banner is black with "Girl with a Pearl Earring" in ultramarine blue and "Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis" in yellow. The dates "January 26-June 2" followed by “Herbst Exhibition Galleries/de Young/Golden Gate Park” appear in white at the bottom.
This banner was displayed around the San Francisco area between January 26 and June 2, 2013. After two stops in Japan, the exhibition traveled to the de Young Museum and then to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta for the summer of 2013. A portion of exhibition was at The Frick Collection in New York during October 2013.