The Girl with a Pearl Earring is universally recognized as one of Johannes Vermeer's absolute masterworks. After more than a century of study, the work still poses significant questions. Who was the sitter, and was the painting even intended as a portrait? Why had it remained in complete obscurity until it was rediscovered in 1882 and sold for the price of a reproduction? Was it a part of a pendant? Did Vermeer sell the painting during his lifetime? Why was the original background a deep transparent green rather than the black we see today? Was the pearl a real one? What significance did the turban have? Which painting procedures did Vermeer employ? Which pigments did he use?
Art is a great status symbol in modern society. Because of that, it can be quite intimidating to the casual viewer. Art can be a great source of pleasure in our lives as well, and even a passing acquaintance with art can enrich our understanding of the world around us.