Elevated to superstar status by a best-selling 1999 novel and a 2003 film starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth, Johannes Vermeer’s 17th century masterpiece “Girl With a Pearl Earring” is drawing unprecedented crowds at The Frick in New York City.
Originally titled “Girl With the Turban,” the painting’s name was changed in the later part of the 20th century because a single drop pearl earring enlivens the portrait of a wide-eyed, moonfaced “Vermeer girl” looking over her shoulder. The painting was meticulously restored in 1994 to brighten the pearl to its original splendor, according to NY1.com.
“If you look closely, you’ll see in the upper part of the pearl, a kind of highlight,” Collection Director Ian Wardropper told NY1.com. “And then you look in the bottom of the pearl and you see a reflection of her white collar. It’s just a few strokes of paint, and in that [Vermeer] somehow captures this sense of a glistening pearl.”
Painted circa 1665, “The Girl” is so special that it is the only work housed in The Frick’s famous Oval Room. This is the first time in nearly 30 years that this painting has been shown in New York. It’s been the crown jewel of the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in the Netherlands for decades, but the painting has been on a world tour while the museum is closed for renovation.
“The Girl,” which is sometimes referred to as the Dutch Mona Lisa, is the headliner of a larger exhibition of 15 works titled “Vermeer, Rembrandt and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Paintings From the Mauritshuis.”
The paintings can be viewed at The Frick through January 19, 2014. The Frick at 1 East 70th St. in Manhattan offers timed ticketing, plus three free Fridays each month. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students.