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One of the most mysterious works of art ever created, Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring delights art enthusiasts of all ages, regardless of its presented form.
During his time on Earth from 1632 to 1675, the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer created over three dozen works of art that captured everything from barren landscapes to human subjects. When created in approximately 1665 as part of the Dutch Golden Age of art, Girl with a Pearl Earring was revolutionary, as the focal point is something still, stark, and motionless rather than colorful and busy.
By focusing on the pearl earring situated in the lobe of the subject as well as the faraway look in her eyes, Vermeer makes room for a great amount of speculation in terms of hidden and often conflicting symbolism in his work. Due to the buzz surrounding Girl with a Pearl Earring that endures through the centuries, ambitions artistic professionals chose to bring the mystery of the painting into other formats to appease a wider variety of people.
To capitalize on the excitement and popularity of the novel and movie versions of Girl with a Pearl Earring, several manufacturers produce a variety of products to bring elements of the work into real life. Whether you desire a replica print on a mug or a copy of the wildly popular DVD, find a large variety of Girl with a Pearl Earring merchandise on eBay. This film is gorgeously photographed and the composition of the frame has meaning, so widescreen is a must for this film.
The inclusion of a Sundance Channel "Anatomy of a Scene" episode is always a satisfying DVD bonus feature for cinefiles, and the one here, dissecting the banquet scene that establishes the social order of the servants, Vermeer's family and his arrogant patron, delves into story (with screenwriter and novelist), sets, lighting, editing, music, etc. But I'm surprised this disc doesn't have what should be the most obvious and useful supplement -- a primer on the painter and what little is known about the real painting around which the film revolves. Digital transfer from a pristine print and sound that captures every hint of emotion in the extraordinary score. Director Peter Webber has such a mesmerizing command over the emotional resonance of "Girl With a Pearl Earring" -- a masterpiece film that imagines the story behind Johannes Vermeer's masterpiece painting -- that there are several moments in the picture so evocative, so stunning that they literally make you hold your breath. One such moment comes as the Dutch master, played with alluring, untamed gravitas by the solemnly magnetic Colin Firth, cajoles his tentative, spellbound model -- a modest, reticent young housemaid (the extraordinary Scarlett Johansson) who has slowly become his muse and artistic confidant -- to wet her lips (and then wet them again, and again) as he readies her to pose for his most famous, most exquisitely lifelike and certainly most emotionally enigmatic portrait. This scene is the culmination of an unspoken, unattainable desire between them and is a magnificent fusion of performance, intimacy and sudden, startling silences in Alexandre Desplat's stirring musical score -- the combination of which is a demonstrative potency that Webber manipulates at will. The director holds sway over such powerfully visceral effects throughout this film, set in the beautifully gritty and gray, canal-traversed city of Delft, Holland, circa 1665, where Vermeer was fatefully beholden for his livelihood to a wealthy but lascivious and manipulative patron, played with oily charisma by the always terrific Tom Wilkinson. Into his household comes Griet (Johansson), a sheltered 17-year-old who has been forced into servitude to help support her family after her father, a journeyman tile painter, was blinded and badly disfigured in an accident.
Recognizing a kindred spirit in the unadorned beauty's innate comprehension of his work, Vermeer is soon drawn to her as well -- a fact that sets in motion a tantalizing mentorship, the jealousy of his vulnerable and volatile wife (played to mistrustful perfection by Essie Davis), the spite of his most mischievous daughter (Alakina Mann), and the unnerving manipulations of his Machiavellian benefactor. Adapted from Tracy Chevalier's speculative novel by screenwriter Olivia Hetreed, "Girl With a Pearl Earring" brings its 17th century setting vividly to life with humble costuming and imaginative, often metaphorical imagery inspired in part by Vermeer's work. All this builds toward another of the picture's breathtaking moments, when Johansson strikes the painting's over-the-shoulder pose and her resemblance to its unknown subject becomes dramatically clear. Just as the piercing poignancy of Vermeer's work of art can be felt influencing every aspect of the movie -- especially in Johansson's haunting personification of portrait's elusive potency -- the fictitious backstory of "Girl With a Pearl Earring" has such a vivid depth and breadth that it's hard to imagine looking at the painting again without being influenced by the film.
For those without comedic tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia think they have an article about Girl with a Pearl Earring. Historians have no account of Johannes Vermeer having ever painted Girl with a Pearl Earring.
The painting was scanned for the first time in 1999 at the University of Paris, meaning that the painting must have been created before then. Andy Warhol claims to have never created it, which narrows the field of potential artists significantly. It is rather curious as to why Johannes Vermeer wanted to draw our attention to this location of the painting first.
Nevertheless, as one becomes bored of this area, one's eyes start to make haste for the second focus of the painting, what some have called the "left eye". As Vermeer was nearing the end of his life, he started work on what has been called the Teeth area. Regardless, the most important square in the entire painting marks the last one that Vermeer painted in Girl with a Pearl Earring; this square is the brightest in the area. Closer inspection of the Sleeve area, what used to be the least interesting area in the painting. On June 31, 2002, someone who was exceptionally bored created a program which translated colors into sound.
To the right is the rest of the painting which tells about all the parts of Vermeer's life not already mentioned: his travels to Australia (described in a group of four squares just to the left of the focal point), his first ride on a bicycle, and his encounter with the Doctor.
Girl with a Pearl Earring died a few years after Vermeer painted her, of severe infections and loss of fluids caused by earring lacerations over her entire body.

Since Holland is well-known for its windmills, the indirect name, DELFT MILL, (rather than Dutch Mill) for a pinwheel quilt design, has an extraordinary appeal. DELFT MILL first appeared in print in Nancy Cabot's column, April 1937, in the Chicago Tribune, where she claims the design's namesake blue specifically for the larger triangles, representing what she calls "the horizon," meaning the far background, or empty sky. Once thought to symbolize only a love interest or a random young girl who posed for a portrait, art history experts spent countless hours unearthing a host of unspoken meanings as well as garnering interest in symbolism from everything from the earring to the mysterious look in the girl's eyes. He was wildly popular with royalty as well as art critics because of his use of mystery and intrigue in addition to the shroud of mystery he cast over his own life and artistic subjects. No one knows for sure if the girl is a real person or the figment of Vermeer's imagination, but popular theory states that it is a combination of both.
The body position of the girl, the look on her face, and the combination of light and dark in the brush strokes suggests a wistful memory and is perhaps a remembrance of Vermeer's past life and experiences. Since approximately 1902, its permanent home of residence is the Mauritshuis gallery in The Hague, but curators lend the painting out to various art galleries around the world, including The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, Palazzo Fava in Bologna, Italy, and The Frick in New York City. In 1999, Tracy Chevalier brought the intriguing story into the forefront of the book world when she released the 256-page novel based in 17th century Holland.
Choose from a plethora of items that easily make this transition, including museum art prints, tote bags, and necklace medallions, as well as pocket flasks, dresses, shirts, and dolls that take the beauty of the subject and make it portable.
A short documentary would have been great, and I'd have settled for liner notes, but there's nothing.
Plus a music video by somebody called Truman (who isn't identified in any way on the DVD) that features Johansson looking gorgeously renaissance-punky.
Johansson hardly speaks in her enthralling performance of tentative glances and internalized passions kept tightly wound under her simple white bonnet.
Webber's fluid command of the film's heightened emotions proves more remarkable by the minute as Johansson (departing appreciably from her perfect modern melancholy in "Lost in Translation") and Firth ("Pride and Prejudice," "Bridget Jones's Diary") build a halting but inescapable yearning between them that is tested by thorny circumstances that lead to the painting of Griet's portrait and the acquisition of the famous earring at its focal point. The infamous focal point is shown by the red square (not present in the original painting). Each square is approximately 100 square micrometers in area, further emphasizing the preciseness of Vermeer's cubism. It is implied that Johannes Vermeer had gone through troubling times in his life, probably the death of his mother based upon the unevenness of the squares just above and to the left of the focal area. Many psychologists believe it is because the events outlined in this area occurred first in his life, suggesting that the painting is Vermeer's life-long autobiography. Upon attempting to shift his focus to another part of the painting, he was hit with a wave of nirvana and was compelled to stare at the focal area for 20 more days. What is noteable is the group of five or arguably six bright squares to the right surrounded by nearly black squares; this suggest a situation where Johannes Vermeer felt trapped, such as a forced marriage or a locked front door. If one tilts his head to the right, one may see a monochrome version of the Great Wave off Kanagawa, another cubist work by Vermeer. This area features a number of light squares and dark squares, suggesting the continuous struggles of Vermeer throughout his droll life. Philosophers have argued that it was Vermeer's attempt, as he looked into the eyes of God while lying on his death bed, to paint God's eyes as he was swept away.
After experimenting with hundreds of cubist artworks, she stumbled upon Girl with a Pearl Earring and decided to play the entire painting.
A complete written analysis of the painting may be purchased from Amazon in 20 comprehensive volumes.
Her remains are buried in Westminster Abbey, not far from Shakespeare's but upwind and a little to the left of Cromwell's. With a bit of research into the background of the artist as well as the inspiration behind the work, the true meaning behind Girl with a Pearl Earring comes easily into focus.
He was the head of the highly regarded painting guild in Delft, Holland two separate times, once in 1662 and again in 1671; through his work, he developed a sense of style that appeased the commoners of the time as well as those in a position of power. During that period, pearls were a status symbol, so even though the girl in the painting wears a turban and shapeless frock, hallmarks of the lower class. She weaves a story of love, loss, and inspiration as she tells the story of Johannes Vermeer and his relationship with the family servant, the girl known as Griet, who many believe is the subject of Girl with a Pearl Earring. After delivery straight to your door, invite a group of close friends over to screen the film or appreciate the print in all of its glory. It's in no way related to the film except that it glimpses the painting a couple times, but it's a good song and the visuals and editing creatively stylish.
Yet she portrays an enormous sense of wonder as Griet's natural acumen for recognizing beauty and composition draws her each day to study the progress of her master's paintings as she cleans his studio.

Just as the name implies, if you form a triangle between the girl's "eyes" and the tiny white dot just below the "cheek" area, and rotate the triangle 135 degrees counterclockwise about the "left eye," a focal point is formed where the white dot lands.
Assuming that it takes one minute to paint a single square onto the canvas, Vermeer must have taken 81 years to complete his masterpiece.
Another pervasive theory is that he believed a focal point to be necessary in showing his ideology, a sort of materialistic view that all things which we value have only one aspect that seems to please us: its worth. However, there is a lighter region to the left which appears to be rescuing the stranded bright squares from the clutches of the unknown; this suggests that he escaped the forced marriage or found the key to the back door.
Therefore it is believed that later in his life, and approximately ten years after he painted the Left Eye area, Vermeer visited Japan to study calligraphy and distribute some of his works to the Emperor.
Only a true artist, however, can see what is really going on here, and everyone else will see mostly many squares. Color theorists have argued that it resembles saturated peach mixed with pale chicken skin; I myself believe it is tan.
Thanks to these experiences, pieces like his Girl with a Pearl Earring became focal points and still stir interest nearly 400 years later.
Director Peter Webber brought this literary work to the big screen in 2003, with Scarlett Johansson as Griet and Colin Firth as the illustrious Vermeer.
The lower right portion of the area is relatively consistent in brightness, indicating that Vermeer was running out of different colors.
Vermeer was known for his "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" outlook on life, and this area may be his testament to that.
Stanley Kubrick made a darker version of the area and used it for the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Mathematicians have calculated that there are five more dark squares in this region than there are light, hinting that Vermeer saw an evil approaching in his life, an evil that would threaten to mutually annihilate the happiness in his life. It is believed that Vermeer caught tuberculosis at the age of 108, the time which roughly corresponds to this area in the painting.
The Last Square is the most important 100 square micrometer area known in the history of art.
She took the recording to musical experts, amateur musicians, and the local librarians, but no one could immediately recognize the tune.
If one's eyes follow this evil to the right, one will meet the famed region known as the "right eye". The reason for the transferral of this theme to the Girl with a Pearl Earring is obvious: Vermeer was running out of ideas and decided to copy-paste.
The red squares support this idea: that Vermeer was confused about how to handle death, and that Vermeer was repeatedly coughing blood into his paint. It was first discovered in 1880 when microscopes were powerful enough to examine it in detail. Additionally, the ratio of the size of the right eye to the left eye is said to be the Golden Ratio. What's also noteworthy is the grit which appears to be caught between the left canine and its neighbor incisor. It is truly a mystery, and it remains one of the biggest mysteries alongside the origin of the universe and the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie pop. This must mean that the Emperor of Japan had much gold during this period, and therefore the public had little. Microbiologists have confirmed that it might be a particular species of rye only consumed when the soil quality is low. Vermeer was obviously making a statement protesting the economic tyranny present in Japan, a statement that would only be discovered centuries after creation.
Soil quality is lowered when too many crops are grown on farm patches at the same time, and therefore farmers were having a difficult time making enough money growing grain to support their families.
Vermeer was concealing yet another protest, this time about the treatment of the agricultural sector in pre-1800s Netherlands.

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