Thursday, March 5, 2009


Since I had a few hours to kill, with Matt busy plugging away at models and simulations of page-long mathematical equations, I was looking around iTunes for a movie to rent and found Girl with the Pearl Earring (a fictional account of the Vermeer painting above) on sale for $.99. By pure coincidence, I had checked out the book Girl in Hyacinth Blue (a fictional tale of a long lost Vermeer painting) at the library a few days before. Since Delft is Vermeer's home town, I thought it was time I learned more about him and his work. We haven't made it to the museum in Den Haag yet that houses the painting, so I thought the movie and book would be a good introduction to Vermeer and his work.

While little is know about Vermeer's life and the subjects in his paintings, the movie weaves a believable tale. Every scene is captured with the light and color that are signatures of Vermeer's work. In addition to the beautiful masterpiece like scenes, the movie shows glimpses of what life was like in Delft in the 1600s.

After being intrigued by the movie, I took a trip to the Vermeer Center in Delft this morning. While the center does not have any of Vermeer's paintings, it is a worthwhile museum. The exhibit starts with a 5 minute introductory video of Delft around the time of Vermeer. It was quite fascinating to see how the places I walk by every week looked in the 1600s. Although the originals are housed elsewhere, the museum does have a life size print of each of Vermeer's confirmed works in chronological order with commentary. In addition, the museum explains how he mixed paint, which elements he used, his lighting techniques, and where he possibly learned his craft.

This weekend we will be going to Den Haag to the Mauritshuis to see some of Vermeer's paintings, including The Girl with Pearl Earring and the landscape View of Delft.

1 comment:

Katie said...

I saw the movie in the theater when I lived in Belgium, and although I enjoyed it then, I look back now and all I can think is how much I hate Scarlett Johannssen and how she is typecast as a home wrecking slut in just about every movie she's ever in.
:) enjoy your weekend though!