Artsy – Only about 34 canvases survive from Johannes Vermeer’s enigmatic oeuvre (a 35th is disputed). The Dutch artist’s most famous work is undoubtedly Girl with a Pearl Earring (ca. 1665), which features a “tronie,” or stock character. The girl in the portrait has fair, clear skin; her head is covered with a turban, her body sheathed in an oversized yellow robe. She looks out at the viewer, but her gaze is paradoxical—soft and direct, intimate and withholding. Light pools on her red, parted lower lip before bouncing off her oversized earring and gathering in her clothing. The dark background offers little context for who the girl is or where she was painted. – read more 

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