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File:250px-Girl with a Pearl Earring 6169.jpg

The Painting (1665)

The painting Girl with a Pearl Earring (Dutch: Het Meisje met de Parel) is one of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer's masterworks and as the name implies, uses a pearl earring for a focal point. The painting is in The Mauritshuis museum in The Hague. It is sometimes referred to as "The Dutch Mona Lisa". Created in 1665, it is one of a handful of Vermeer's works that have survived. In 1994, it underwent a restoration, which brought out many subtle colors and overtones. Vermeer was known to use expensive pigments in his paintings, and ultimately died in debt.

The painting has been subject to many Shout Outs, including novels, an opera and even Total Drama World Tour.

The Book (1999)

Tracy Chevalier wrote a historical novel, also entitled Girl with a Pearl Earring (1999), fictionalizing the circumstances of the painting's creation. In the novel, Johannes Vermeer becomes close with a fictional servant named Griet, whom he hires as an assistant and has sit for him as a painting model while wearing one of his wife's pearl earrings. The novel inspired the 2003 film and a 2008 play of the same name. The novel sold over two million copies in thirty-six languages.

The Film (2003)

Directed by Peter Webber, the film garnered numerous awards both in the States and abroad. They include three Academy Award nominations, a Best Photography Oscar, and two Golden Globes for Best Actress and Best Score. In England, it won a London Critics Circle Film Award and a British Independent Film Award, both for Best Actress.


Tropes In Common

  • Person with the Clothing
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: One of the most striking features of the painting, it is played up as plot in the other Adaptation Distillation genres.
    • Griet's eyes from Tracy Chevalier's book appear to have an entrancing affect on a few characters, all who say something along the lines of: "You have very wide eyes." They're given a lot of attention in the book, also being described as "quite luminous", like "liquid were spilling into them".
    • In the movie version, Scarlett Johansson plays Griet, and her bright green eyes are shown often in close up. They really are very beautiful eyes, to be honest.

The Painting

The Book

The Movie

  • Actor Allusion: Colin Firth in St Trinian's jokes about the painting.
    • Not to mention that his character was right to want to shag the titular model.
    • May also be considered Celebrity Paradox as there were many references to Colin Firth's previous works in St Trinian's.
  • Attempted Rape: Van Ruijven to Griet
  • Cillian Murphy: A vegetarian actor ironically cast as a butcher.
  • Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: Griet does this a lot.
  • Hands-On Approach: Johannes Vermeer attempts to teach Griet to grind paints by placing his large manly Dutch Master hands over hers, totally obliterating the proper social barriers between them —- she gets pretty flustered.
  • Hollywood Science: A case of artistic perception of housework. Anyone doing their chores as slowly as Griet would never get anything done. A good example is cleaning windows scene, where Griet starts cleaning a whole wall of windows so slowly and meticulously it would probably take her a whole day to clean them all in Real Life.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: The incidental music is incredibly sparing and this is virtually the only motif used in the entire film.
  • Scarlett Johansson: The title role
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Vermeer and Griet.
  • Wall-Bang Her: Pieter and Griet.
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