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Girl with a Pearl Earring: 11/23/12

cover art

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier is a historical novel that imagines the story behind the titular Vermeer painting. Griet is sent to the Vermeer household to work as a servant after her father is blinded in a kiln accident.

Griet is far better educated than a typical servant, she catches the attention of Vermeer, to the annoyance of the lady of the house. She quickly goes from basic servant to trusted assistant, and finally model.

Chevalier's writing style is understated and similar to Marilynne Robinson's Home. There's no major events, little drama, mostly just quiet observations on art and people.

Girl with a Pearl Earring is best suited for readers interested in 17th Century art or specifically Vermeer. Much of the emphasis is on the art of portraiture and oil painting. There is an abundance of technical details thrown into the story.

Four stars

Comments (2)

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Comment #1: Friday, November 23, 2012 at 16:31:02


I enjoyed the technical details, and I'm not particularly into that era or style of painting, just art in general. They didn't seem to overwhelm the story, either, but to be an integral part of it.

Comment #2: Saturday, December 01, 2012 at 17:26:03


They were interesting but after a while they also felt like padding.

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