The Young Girl with Turban (Girl with a pearl earring)
c. 1665, 44.5 x 39 cm, Johannes Vermeer
This painting, portraying a very young girl at the threshold of womanhood, half-turning her head and gazed at the viewers, in a state of irresolute, hesitating, seductive and seduced, inviting and withdrawing simultaneously. Her large eyes and half-open ripe lips betrayed passion underneath her alabaster pale skin. A huge pearl, hanging from her half-hidden ear, echoing those soulful eyes, with a highlight too bright to stare at. Adding exoticism to the painting was her blue and yellow turban, which completely concealed her hair and that made her appear bald and chaste; yet as if to negate such impression, part of the turban cascaded down her shoulder, therefore gave her a coquettish flair.
Furthermore, what was so remarkable about this painting were Vermeer’s fresh colors, virtuoso technique and subtle rendering of light effects, such as the small highlights on the turban and the pearl, which was painted with economical brushstrokes, mainly a bright highlight at upper left and the soft reflection of the white collar below.
As reported in my previous entry, Paintings As Pivotal Elements, this painting and its imagined inception, was detailed in a lively novel Tracy Chevalier and an ensuring movie The Girl with a Pearl Earring. The novel and the movie were so overwhelmingly popular that even the collector of this painting, Mauritshuis, was presumably forced to change its title to The Girl with a Pearl Earring.