Art Travel Guide

Documentary on Vermeer’s Girl with Pearl Earring To Show Nationwide for One-Night-Only!

The iconic Johannes Vermeer masterpiece “Girl with a Pearl Earring” is the focus of the new film “Girl with a Pearl Earring and Other Treasures from the Mauritshuis in The Hague”.

Exhibition on screen: Girl with a Pearl Earring and other treasures from the Mauritshuis in the Hague

Exhibition on Screen: Girl with a Pearl Earring and other treasures from the Mauritshuis in the Hague

Do not confuse this behind the scenes documentary look at one of the most notable art collections on the planet with the 2003 film starring Scarlet Johansson and Colin Firth. The soon-to-be-released documentary is narrated by British actor Hugh Bonneville and features the Vermeer, along with other works of the period, showcased in the Hague’s, Mauritshuis’s newly renovated space. Tracy Chevalier, the author of the novel that the fictional 2003 film was based on, discusses her research in the new documentary.

The Story behind “the Mona Lisa of the North”

Vermeer is one of the most well-known and well-regarded Dutch artists. That said, he was relatively obscure during his lifetime. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the artist’s work came to the forefront of the art world. Unlike other painters, Vermeer didn’t create vast numbers of works. With a total of roughly 45 paintings total, only 36 of Vermeer’s pieces are known to contemporary art enthusiasts.

Many of Vermeer’s works, such as “Girl With a Pearl Earring” focused on his preoccupation with the domestic world. Although this work looks like an obvious portrait, it was intended to be a ‘throne’. The tronie was the 17th-century Dutch term for a painting of a face, showing exaggerated facial expressions and a character in costume.

While the 2003 film about the Vermeer makes a young maid the model for this work, this isn’t likely the historical truth. It’s thought that the ‘girl’ in the painting is either Vermeer’s daughter or the daughter of his patron Pieter Van Ruijven. Even though speculation abounds, the true identity of the girl in the painting is still unknown. This sense of mystery is also part of the charm that the Vermeer holds.

The painting became part of the Mauritshuis collection in the early 20th century. During the gallery’s extensive renovations, the Vermeer (along with several other works) toured the world – visiting Tokyo, Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Kobe, and Bologna.

If you’re hoping to catch the big-screen debut of “Girl with a Pearl Earring and Other Treasures from the Mauritshuis in The Hague,” waiting isn’t the prudent course of action. The film will show in over 300 major movie theaters across the U.S. for one night only – June 23, 2015. Go to Fathom Event’s website to purchase your tickets now.


About the Author

Erica Loop has a BA in the history of art and architecture as well as film studies. She has worked for the Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art. Ms. Loop has taught studio-based art classes for children from toddlers to teens for the past decade along with writing freelance content across the web.