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Girl with a Pearl Earring

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Sarah Edwards

on 18 August 2013

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Transcript of Girl with a Pearl Earring

Girl with a Pearl Earring
Tracy Chevalier

This book revolves around the main character Griet who is only sixteen when she is forced to become a maid for the Vermeers to help support her family financially. Griet must attend to housework such as clean clothes, scrub the floors, prepare meals and clean Vermeer's studio. She is constantly reminded of her place in society and is aware that her position as a maid isn’t very secure. Catharina, Vermeer's wife, is very jealous of Griet's accessibility to the studio. Johannes Vermeer speaks very little to Griet but gives her more important duties such as making paint which is a privilege. Johannes agrees to paint Griet after his patron master Van Ruijven commissioned him to paint a portrait of the wide eyed maid. Johannes Vermeer keeps the painting a secret from Catharina, but ultimately she discovered the painting of Griet and felt betrayed. Upon this discovery, Griet felt compelled to leave and started a new life with Pieter the son.

Social/political/historical relevance

1. The plague affected where Griet's family lived which was the poorer side of Delft.
2. Different religions: Griet's family is Protestant whereas the Vermeer’s are Catholic.
3.Social classes became evident.
Upper Class: Van Ruijuven the patron
Midddle Class: The Vermeer family
Lower Class: Griet's family
Art Historical relevance
Johannes Vermeer
...and his paintings
Girl with a Pearl Earring is a fictional account of the inspiration behind the paintings creation. Tracy Chevalier used her imagination to produce a literary story to appeal to all types of audiences.
The book has enlightened me as a reader by opening up the world of a 17th century painter. It was fascinating to see how a fictional story was written around the painting and the motivation behind it.

This book has enlightened me as an art history student by educating myself about Vermeer and the techniques he used i.e., the camera obscura, use of color, etc.
View of Delft
Woman with a pearl necklace
The Milkmaid
The Girl with the Wineglass
A Lady Writing
The Concert
Woman with a Water Jug
Girl with a Pearl Earring
Full transcript