Explosion of creativity for Girl with a Pearl Earring

31 Jan 2023

Liana Popa @Avetisiperoz Inzending My Girl With A Pearl

Starting on 6 February and continuing for the next few months, a host of new Girls with a Pearl Earring will be on show at the Mauritshuis. They arrived after we issued an open call for people to send us their creations inspired by Vermeer’s world-famous painting from 1665. No fewer than 3482 Girls were sent to The Hague from all over the world: painted, drawn, made of wool, clay, wood, fabric, petals, buttons, ceramic, vegetables, fruit, shells, glass beads, balloons, Lego, or in the form of a tattoo.

We have made a selection for our presentation My Girl with a Pearl in the room where the Girl normally hangs, in her own special spot. The ‘real Girl’ will be at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam for eight weeks, starting on 10 February, as part of its major Vermeer exhibition. My Girl with a Pearl, sponsored by Nationale-Nederlanden, will continue until 4 June. www.mauritshuis.nl/mygirlwithapearl

Image: @avetisiperoz.

Beautiful and bewitching

We at the Mauritshuis were already aware that the Girl inspires many people. For years we have been receiving pictures featuring people (or objects) as her. When it was decided that Vermeer’s painting would be going to the Rijksmuseum for a while, we soon hit upon the idea of showing other people’s versions of the Girl in ‘her’ room, giving everyone a chance of seeing their work in her place. Towards the end of 2022 we issued an international call, expecting perhaps a few hundred entries. But our expectations were vastly exceeded. Beautiful, bizarre, bonkers, bewitching, beguiling, bombastic, bubbly and brilliant – we have been hugely impressed by the explosion of creativity

International interest

There was a great deal of international interest in the opportunity to compete for a place at the museum, with 34% of entries originating outside the Netherlands, from a total of 69 countries. There were 295 entries from the United States, 142 from Italy and 109 each from Belgium and Germany. Australia, Canada, the UK, Poland, Russia and Sweden were also well represented. A selection of all the entries will be shown from 6 February on a loop in a digital frame at the spot where the real Girl usually hangs. The 170 selected works come from a whole range of countries, including Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ghana, Iran, Mexico, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Vietnam and South Africa. Five creations that the museum has printed will also be on display on the other side of the room. These are from El Paso (US), Moscow, Berlin, Haarlem-Santpoort and Apeldoorn. One interesting detail: the frame for the digital display is an exact copy of the Girl’s frame, made using a 3D-printer. Lots more entries can be viewed on Instagram (#mygirlwithapearl) and on our website (mauritshuis.nl/mygirlwithapearl).

‘Of course we will miss the Girl while she is not in her normal place,’ says Paul Schuiling, cultural partnerships consultant at Nationale-Nederlanden, ‘but we have been overwhelmed by the number of entries for the Mauritshuis and Nationale-Nederlanden competition, which highlights the enthusiasm with which the initiative has been received. For 17 weeks we will be able to enjoy 170 entries in this magical spot at the museum, giving new talent the platform it deserves, and sharing their creations with the world.’

Vermeer exhibition at Rijksmuseum

From 10 February the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam will be hosting the largest Vermeer exhibition in history, 27 years after the Vermeer exhibition at the Mauritshuis. No fewer than 28 paintings by the master will be on show in Amsterdam. The three Vermeers from the Mauritshuis collection – View of Delft, Diana and Her Nymphs and Girl with a Pearl Earring – could not be omitted, of course. The Rijksmuseum and the Mauritshuis are also collaborating on a study of the seven Vermeers in the Dutch national collection.

My Girl with a Pearl, 6 February - 4 June at the Mauritshuis

Also at #mygirlwithapearl and mauritshuis.nl/mygirlwithapearl