Girl With a Pearl Earring Analysis


Artist Name: Johannes Vermeer

Title and Year: Girl With a Pearl Earring (1665)


Medium: Oil on Canvas

Composition: The girl is looking at the viewer, her head turned to face them. The contrast creates a focal point of her face, it being the lightest point of the painting.



Colour: Use of cool and warm colours gives the painting a balance, making it easy to look at.

Value: The contrast creates a focal point, making us focus on the face of the girl.

Balance: The photo is well balanced symmetrically. The colours also balance each other making the painting pleasing to the eye.

Emphasis: Her light face is in the middle of the photo, while the background is black, emphasizing her face, which is the focal point.

What innovations has this artist made that are visible in the work in comparison to prior artists/movements?

Compared to the gothic and middle age era that came before, this portrait uses the dramatics of light and dark to really get the viewer to focus on the girl in the portrait. This piece is also very realistic, capturing the dramatic beauty of the girl with the pearl earring.




Her beauty, individuality and her perfections are what’s being captured by the artist in this painting. The artist wants to show the world all of these qualities that she possesses.



Strengths: Realistic, use of colour, shading, focal point.

Weaknesses: No movement? Simple? I don’t see any problems in this painting.

It is a successful artwork because of the strengths listed above. It’s simplistic but complex in the use of the black background so we can entirely focus on the girl with a pearl earring.


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