Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) - Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665)
France Stamp Issued 2008
Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague.
Vermeer used expensive pigments in his portraits, including ultramarine - these contribute to a powerful combination of light and depth to his paintings. He was a successful genre painter of his time, but he produced very few paintings - he specialised in painting exquisite interior scenes depicting middle class Dutch life. Unfortunately for his family, he left a relatively large debt upon his untimely death in his early 40s.
Vermeer was not particularly famous until the late 19th century, and his reputation has grown since then. Only 35 paintings can be reliably attributed to him today.
This painting was also the subject of a fictional 2003 film and novel by Tracey Chavelier, that tells the story of a fictional account of an affair between the model and the painter from this painting.