Who is the girl in “Girl with a Pearl Earring”?


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The Girl with a Pearl Earring, also known as Girl with a Turban or Headscarf, is an oil painting by Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer, dated to 1665. It is considered one of Vermeer’s masterpieces and is part of the collection of the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, Netherlands. The painting is a tronie, a Dutch term for a head study or portrait of an individual with an exaggerated expression or costume.

The identity of the girl depicted in the painting is not definitively known. The lack of a clear identity has led to much speculation and debate among art historians and enthusiasts. However, several theories have been proposed over the years.

One of the most popular theories is that the girl in the painting is Vermeer’s eldest daughter, Maria. This theory is supported by the fact that Maria was around the same age as the girl in the painting at the time it was created. Additionally, Maria is known to have posed for her father in other paintings, which suggests that she may have also posed for this one.

Another theory is that the girl in the painting is a servant or maid who worked in Vermeer’s household. This theory is supported by the fact that the girl is wearing a simple, plain dress and a turban or headscarf, which were commonly worn by servants and maids during the 17th century. Additionally, the girl’s direct gaze and the intimacy of her pose suggest that she may have been familiar with the artist and his family.

Some art historians have suggested that the girl in the painting is a fictional or idealized figure rather than a specific individual. This theory is supported by the fact that the girl’s features are not highly detailed, which suggests that Vermeer may have been more interested in capturing a particular expression or mood rather than creating a realistic likeness.

Regardless of the true identity of the girl in the painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring remains one of Vermeer’s most famous and beloved works. The painting’s enigmatic subject and the girl’s enigmatic expression have captured the imaginations of viewers for centuries, and it continues to be a source of fascination and inspiration for artists and art lovers around the world.


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