I have drawn and painted my daughter many times. The portrait, which I am writing about today is an obvious nod to Vermeer’s Girl with A Pearl Earring, but the artist is (a lot) different, the girl is different and the year it was painted is 2011. Here they are:
Most people interested in art, and those who have seen the movie with the same title, have Vermeer’s painting in their memory. When I was setting up my portrait, I was not looking at it. I went on arranging my daughter following my feeling about her face, colours and character, keeping The Girl with the Pearl Earring in my mind’s eye. So my piece is not an interpretation of Vermeer, it is a portrait styled after his.
Dear reader, comparing the two, and in the blogosphere at that, requires a good deal of courage on my part. I’ve been collecting it since 2011. Of course my painting is nowhere near Vermeer’s masterpiece in terms of artistic merit though it has a fair deal of character. The objective of the exercise is rather to put next to each other two young women, 500 years apart in time, of completely different backgrounds and mindsets and painted by two artists of quite different mindsets too.
A couple of things to consider:
1.The Girl with the Pearl Earring was not intended as a portrait but a stock character in costume, or a tronie in art history terms. Mine IS a portrait of my daughter Anna, and this is an essential difference.
2. Both girls were dressed up – in this case turbaned-up. In other words, both young women were taken out of their usual ‘state of head’ (pun intended) which brings them a tiny bit closer.
3. To paint this picture Vermeer was most probably using camera obscura – which produces a projection of the model on the canvas. I used a photograph to draw from – it is harder than tracing a projection but doesn’t make Vermeer any less of an artist and me any more of one.
So, what do you think Miss Anna Kaleva and Miss Pearl Earring might have had in common if they were contemporaries? Would they be BFF or BFE (BestFrenEmies)?