10 Feb Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer – Eternal beauty
Why ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ is so fascinating
The ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ by the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer is one of the most famous paintings in the world. No one knows exactly who the girl was, who has managed to enchant every spectator for more than 350 years. The girl’s gaze is defiant, but also questioning; a little sad and at the same time sparkling. Because of this masterfully painted expression, the girl is also called the ‘Mona Lisa of the Netherlands’.
From 10 February to 4 June, 2023, she will be the guest of honor at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the city where Bonebakker jeweler has been offering pearl jewelry for more than 230 years.
The mystery of ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’
‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ was painted around 1665 and people all over the world have been fascinated by ‘The Girl’ ever since. The Girl with a Pearl Earring has even been credited with a role as a muse in the film adaptation of Tracy Chavelier’s book, ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’. In this film, the girl is played by Scarlett Johansson. No matter how much the girl has been looked at and examined, she is still a mystery. She probably never really existed, but Vermeer, ‘The Master of Light’, made her come alive. The painting has been part of the collection of the Mauritshuis in The Hague since 1902.
The famous pearl which isn’t a pearl
The Mauritshuis recently examined the painting with new techniques and something special was discovered: the pearl that the girl wears is an illusion. The ‘pearl’ floats in space and is not worn with a hook like an earring. Vermeer created the ‘pearl’ with only two strokes of lead white. Luckily, pearl jewelry that ís real, can be seen today in your favorite jewellery store.
Romantic Victorian pearls
People have been wearing pearls for thousands of years. It was mainly kings and queens who could carry these beautiful treasures from the sea. In the documented, rich history of Bonebakker it is described that ‘Paarlen- en juweelenhandel As Bonebakker & Zoon’ as court jeweler supplied many pearls to the family of Orange. Bonebakker was a purveyor to the royal household of all 19th-century monarchs of Orange. At that time, natural pearls (called ‘peres’) were richly worn by ‘ladies of good standing’. They were seen as romantic, and stylish.
One of the royal showpieces that Bonebakker was allowed to produce in the 19th century was the royal crown, made in 1840. This crown, which was made for King William II during the Early Victorian period, has: “various coloured stones, ‘peres’, as well as eight rows of descending ‘peres’.”
Willem III (1817-90), King of The Netherlands, Nicolaas Pieneman, 1856 oil on canvas, Rijksmuseum
At Bonebakker we are still fascinated by the mysticism and shine of pearls. Not only that of ‘Girl with a pearl earring’, but by every pearl that nature gives us. In the Bonebakker collection, you can find various pearl earrings; from very classic to very modern. With their soft shine, they highlight the radiance of women of all ages.
Pearl earrings from the BoHo Collection by Ole Lynggaard, available at Bonebakker