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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 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.
- Art Imitates Art: In Cycle 5 of America's Next Top Model, when there were five contestants left, the challenge was to recreate a classic work of art, one of which was the painting.
- Betty and Veronica: A gender-flipped example: Pieter the son as Betty and Vermeer as Veronica, with Griet as the Archie.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Cornelia.
- Dead Little Sister: Agnes
- Meaningful Name: Griet is the Dutch from of 'Margaret,' which is Greek for pearl.
- Actor Allusion: Colin Firth in St Trinian's jokes about the painting.
- 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.