The most famous earring in the history of the world is made of glass and not of pearl.modern art. The well-known detail of the painting Girl with a turban, Better known as Girl with a pearl earring, is now in the spotlight.
Last February 10, at the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam, was in fact inaugurated the largest collection of Vermeer paintings ever exhibited. And the statements by the co-curator of the retrospective, Pieter Roelofs, left everyone speechless.
The painting, one of the most famous by the seventeenth-century Dutch artist, has spread in contemporary pop culture thanks also to Tracy Chavalier's bestseller "Girl with a Pearl Earring" (1999) and to the homonymous film directed by Peter Webber and beautifully played by Scarlett Johansson in 2003.
The captivating title attributed to Vermeer's work, the object of numerous attentions, is therefore in check!?
The large earring, which captures the light that pervades the painting, is not made of pearl, as it was believed, albeit with some doubts, for about four centuries. According to Pieter Roelofs, a pearl of this diameter would have been too expensive for the time and hardly a girl of the people would have been able to wear it. Much more likely the jewel portrayed replicates one glass bead.
It would therefore be an imitative work of the precious jewel, particularly in vogue at the time and comparable to modern costume jewellery, however made with skill by the Venetian glass blowers.
The hypothesis, to be honest, is not new to art enthusiasts (just consult the page related to the portrait on Wikipedia), will it assert itself to the point of changing the famous title of the work? So will there be talk of “Girl with a glass earring” in the future? Or will the insiders prefer to bring back the previous "Girl with a turban"?
In any case, we find it difficult that such an evocative title will soon be abandoned. The addition of a redundant complement of material, "Girl with a glass pearl earring", would perhaps wink at the marvelous Venetian tradition, but would deprive the work of that mysterious aura which is, after all, the Vermeer stylistics.
Sources: lastampa.it, ilpost.it, greenme.it
Image source: Johannes Vermeer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons