Friday, December 18, 2009

Dog with a Pearl Earring

click image to enlarge

Dog with a Pearl Earring is not so much a portrait as a study in mood created through light alone. Vermeer's idea of using an exotic costume and isolating the head against the dark background probably came from Rembrandt with whom Vermeer's teacher studied. It is surely done from life and speaks to the incredible patience of the dog to sit and stay for undoubted lengthy sessions.

The young dog looks toward but not directly at the viewer, as is typical of Vermeer. Everything is a harmony of contrasts, from the cool and warm tones of the turban and robe to the subtle gradations of light and shadow of the fur. The light beads on the earring and and balances the dog's luminous eyes. As we look at Dog with a Pearl Earring, we feel as though a veil has been pulled from our eyes. The world shines with jewel-like freshness, beautiful as we have never seen it before.

More Art Hound (by artist)

- text adapted from History of Art for Young People, H.W. Janson and Anthony F. Janson; p.375
Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring