Girl with a Pearl Earring

Happy Fall! Fall is my favorite season here, but it’s a four-way tie so that’s not saying much.

Over the weekend I finished Girl With a Pearl Earring that I really enjoyed. Historical fiction can be a little tricky because I don’t always know what to believe and what not to believe, but it was a good story, nonetheless. It follows a girl who becomes a maid in the household of the painter Vermeer. I won’t say more about that in case you want to read the book, but naturally it piqued my interest about Johannes Vermeer, who specialized in painting people doing regular things around the house (the room, actually. Almost all his paintings are set in the same room that was in his home in Delft, outside Amsterdam) For instance, here is a lady pouring milk:

If Vermeer were alive today I’m sad to say he may have been a University of Michigan fan, for their colors alone. He loved his blues and yellows, and apparently always bought very high end paint. For a time that was fine, because he and his brood were doing quite well, but Vermeer was a notoriously slow painter and though he was fairly popular, he only painted about 50 pieces in his life (only 34 are around today. Sad!), which wasn’t enough to support his wife and 11 children forever. He died in debt, like so many painters did back then.
The Girl with the Pearl Earring is considered Vermeer’s greatest masterpiece. It is beautiful (and a little scandalous, amiright? Those parted lips? I don’t think she’s thinking about the high cost of paint.) My favorite though, is The Girl with the Wine Glass. Also scandalous with the wine and red dress and flirty hand-kiss. Aren’t you dying to know what’s really going on?! Is she trying to make that other guy jealous? Is she flirting with the painter?  Is this her first sip of wine ever? I don’t know, but I want to! Maybe Tracy Chevalier will give me a story for this painting next.

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