art culture: Vermeer and his Pearl Girl

2 days ago I saw a movie that really struck me: Girl with a Pearl Earring. It stars Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth (what’s not to like about Colin! Mister Darcy!). http://www.girlwithapearlearringmovie.com/
Once you’ve entered the site, you can hear the lovely and mysterious music/soundtrack.

It is about Johannes (Jan) Vermeer, painter in the 17th century in Delft in the Low Countries (now The Netherlands and the northern part of Belgium). Not much is known about Vermeer. He had about 11 children, died at 43 and painted about 36 master pieces (we know of).
One of them was this one (the Dutch Mona Lisa):

Girl with a Pearl Earring

(in Dutch: Meisje met de tulband or Meisje met de Parel) is exhibited in The Hague (Den Haag) in Mauritshuis.

Last year it was elected the most beautiful painting of The Netherlands. This painting was the inspiration for a novel by the same title by Tracy Chevalier. http://www.tchevalier.com/gwape/story/index.html

Now, I understand that many storylines got lost to make a good and coherent movie, but I adored the cinematography of the thing. It is so beautifully shot and it shows the hard life in the 17th century. I love the paintings of the Flemish primitives (Early Netherlandish paintings) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flemish_primitives .

If you ever get the chance to go to Bruges, go and see them up close. The eye for detail and the playing with light and shadow is remarkable. The paintings are almost photographic!

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