Follow TV Tropes


Art / Girl with a Pearl Earring

Go To

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 its 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. A namesake novel and its film adaptation imagined a fictional woman as the subject of the painting.

Tropes attached to this painting:

  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: As it says, it's a painting of a girl with a pearl earring.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Some art historians believe this trope applies, as they theorise the earring is not actually pearl which would be unaffordable for all but the richest at the time, but rather made of glass, which would be.
  • Person with the Clothing: The distinguished feature of the painting is the pearl earring that the girl is wearing and which is facing the viewer.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis: To people who have read or seen Girl with a Pearl Earring this work is often their first introduction to Vermeer's art.
  • Protagonist Title: The painting's protagonist (and sole character) is a girl wearing a pearl earring.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Who is this girl? The most popular theory is that she’s one of Vermeer’s daughters, specifically his oldest Maria. Other theories include someone who worked for his wealthy-in-laws, a mistress, or a representation of someone from either the Bible or antiquity. His life is such a mystery and he has such small body of work that it’s unlikely we will ever know.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: One of the most striking features of the painting, it is played up as a plot in the other Adaptation Distillation genres.