Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring is back on display in the usual location
Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, the public’s favourite from the collection of the Mauritshuis in The Hague, is back on display in the usual location in Room 15. The past two weeks, the painting has undergone in-depth scientific examination, conducted in the museum’s Golden Room.
While the public and the press looked on with great interest, a team of international researchers applied a range of examination techniques. The painting is now one of the best documented works of art in the world. The Mauritshuis hopes to find out more about how Vermeer painted Girl with a Pearl Earring and what materials he used. Research will continue by analysing the terabytes of data collected. Final results will only be available after thorough analysis and comparison of these data.
The research project The Girl in the Spotlight is an initiative of the Mauritshuis, involving a team of internationally recognised specialists associated with the Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science (NICAS). The NICAS partners are Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Delft University of Technology, Cultural Heritage Agency of The Netherlands (RCE) and the University of Amsterdam. Cooperating in this project were: Shell Technology Centre Amsterdam (STCA), Maastricht University, University of Antwerp, National Gallery of Art Washington and Hirox Europe.
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About the Girl with a Pearl Earring
Vermeer painted the Girl with a Pearl Earring around 1665. It is a so-called tronie, which is not a portrait but a representation of a character: in this case, a girl in exotic clothing, with an eastern turban and an improbably large pearl in her ear. After Vermeer's death, the work was acquired in 1675 by collector Pieter van Ruijven. In 1669, the inventory of Ruijven’s son-in-law Jacob Dissus lists 'A Tronie in Antique Clothing, uncommonly skilful', which probably refers to this work. The painting only resurfaced in 1881 when Victor de Stuers, a leading figure in the public service for the arts, suspected it was a Vermeer. Art collector Arnoldus Andries des Tombe bought the work for two guilders and thirty cents. At Des Tombe’s death in 1902, he bequeathed the work to the Mauritshuis. Since then, the Girl with a Pearl Earring has become an iconic picture.
The Mauritshuis is home to the best of Dutch Golden Age painting. The compact yet world-renowned collection is located in the heart of The Hague in The Netherlands, right next to the centre of government. Masterpieces such as Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt, The Goldfinch by Fabritius and The Bull by Potter are on permanent display in the intimate rooms of this seventeenth-century monument. The conservation workshop of the Mauritshuis plays a leading role in the material and technical research into the old masters.