In 2018, the Mauritshuis Gallery in The Hague, The Netherlands, gathered an international team of researchers to participate in their “Girl in the Spotlight” project, which aimed to unlock the secrets of Johannes Vermeer's famous Girl With a Pearl Earring around 1665.
Her recently published results reveal many fascinating details about Vermeer's artistic process and the artwork itself, although the identity of the enigmatic subject of the painting remains a mystery. Using X-rays and other advanced imaging techniques, the researchers discovered that Vermeer represented the girl in front of a faint green curtain ̵
As The Guardian ] reportedly, scientists in the past have cited both the lack of eyelashes and the blank background to support the theory that Vermeer painted a conceptual, idealized picture of a girl, so that she newly discovered characteristics could be evidence that an actual person posed for him in a certain setting. And according to lead researcher Abbie Vandivere, it's not that bad that we still don't know who that person is.
“It is good that some puzzles remain and everyone can speculate about them. It enables people to interpret the girl personally; Everyone feels their own connection with the way they meet your eyes, ”she said to The Guardian . "The fact that it's still a mystery keeps people coming back and keeps it exciting and fresh."
While we are all thinking about the puzzling origin of one of the most fascinating models in art history, there are many other fascinating ones to talk about revelations from the Mauritshuis investigation. For one thing, the Dutch artist apparently spared no expense in bringing girls with a pearl earring to life: the raw materials from which he created various colors of the painting came from almost every country, including England, Mexico and Central America and maybe even Asia or the West Indies. Ultramarine, a blue pigment from lapis lazuli (an export from today's Afghanistan) that Vermeer used for the girl's headscarf and jacket, was more valuable than gold at the time.
The study also highlighted Vermeer's painting methods. He started with broad brushstrokes of brown and black paint, placed the girl on the background, and then made slight adjustments to her ear, neck, and top of her scarf.
When "Girl in the Spotlight" has proven everything, there is always more to discover about a work of art – and that is exactly what the Mauritshuis intends to do.
"Please know that this is not the end point of our research, but an intermediate station," said Mauritshuis director Martine Gosselink in a press release. "The collaboration is growing, as is the desire to find out more."
While you wait for more information to come out, here are 15 fascinating facts about girls with a pearl earring .  [h/t The Guardian]