Dr. Elizabeth Wise
Book Report: Girl with a Pearl Earring
The Girl with a Pearl Earring is a historical fictional novel about the famous painting created by the artist Johannes Vermeer. The story takes place in the 17th century in Delft, Holland. The novel chronicles the actions that led up to the painting of Girl with a Pearl Earring. The subject of the painting is a young girl named Griet, who goes to live with Johannes Vermeer’s family and be a second maid to their growing household. Vermeer really introduces Griet to the world of paint and even goes as far as to employ her as his assistant.
Vermeer did not waste any time showing his new assistant, Griet, how to mix paints. Vermeer started off by sending Griet to pick up materials to grind up and make his paints. Vermeer showed Griet how to make paint by grinding up different materials with a muller. Griet finds she is not as quick as the artist, but Vermeer mentions that some materials are easier than others to grind. Griet often rubs the paste in between her fingers to check for consistency. Also, the finer the materials were ground, the brighter the colors. Vermeer often used linseed oil and white lead, and bones while creating his paints.
Most things in everyday life are made up of many colors that the average person never takes the time to notice. Vermeer first explains this to Griet when he is pointing out the colors of the clouds. Many people would describe clouds as plain white, but Vermeer and Griet point out that many colors make up clouds and they are not pure white. Vermeer carries this thought throughout all his paintings. Vermeer focuses on great tones and hues in his painting making him stand apart from other artists of his time.
Light is very important to the painting process, but Vermeer put a special focus on the way that light can affect paint. Vermeer’s studio was where he spent most of his time and it had to be just so. The windows were...