Researchers have uncovered the intimate details of painter Johannes Vermeer’s popular art piece “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” answering some mysterious questions about composition and pigmentation of the painting, according to reports. Using a battery of modern imaging techniques, the researchers, who had subjected the “Dutch Mona Lisa” painting for a study since 2018, discovered the 17th-century art’s minute key findings. They reportedly used hi-tech machines, that took what amounted to a full-body scan for the observation.
As per the reports, the analysis of the painting found the entire process which the Golden Age Dutch master adopted to paint the girl and the pigments used in the artwork. However, the scientists could not discover who, in actual, “Girl with a Pearl Earring” was. Martine Gosselink, Director of the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague said in an online presentation that the new research project from 2018 has made key findings, “Who was the girl? No, sadly we didn’t find out who this young lady was and if she ever really existed. But we did get a little closer to her,” he said.
Speaking of the findings, the scientists revealed that the girl was painted in front of a green curtain that has faded from view. Microscopic scans also revealed tiny fragments from Vermeer’s paintbrushes embedded in the girl’s skin and her eyelashes. The scientists also scanned and mapped the tiny cracks that have formed in the paint over the years, and said that they would research the health of the canvas in the years to come, as per the media reports.
“It’s surprising how much high-quality ultramarine Vermeer used in the girl’s headscarf,” said conservator and project leader Abbie Vandivere. “This blue pigment was more valuable than gold in the 17th century.” The findings don’t just reveal details about Vermeer’s materials, “but also tell us about Dutch and world trade in the 17th century,” Vandivere said.
Research also reportedly uncovered the order in which Vermeer painted the girl on a woven canvas with a grey base layer and using shades of brown and black. Further, the infrared imaging revealed that the skin of the girl’s face, her yellow jacket, white-collar, the blue headscarf was worked with black on a background of green and finally the quick dabs of white were used that made up the pearl, according to reports.