Girl With a Pearl Earring Paperback – 11 Sep 2014
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The Dutch painter Vermeer has remained one of the great enigmas of 17th-century Dutch art. While little is known of his personal life, his extraordinary paintings of natural and domestic life, with their subtle play of light and colour, have come to define the Dutch Golden Age. The mysterious portrait of the anonymous Girl with a Pearl Earring has fascinated art historians for centuries, and it is this magnetic painting that lies at the heart of Tracy Chevalier's second novel of the same title.
Girl with a Pearl Earring centres on Vermeer's prosperous household in Delft in the 1660s. The appointment of the quiet, perceptive heroine of the novel, the servant Griet, gradually throws the household into turmoil as Vermeer and Griet become increasingly intimate, an increasingly tense situation that culminates in her working for Vermeer as his assistant, and ultimately sitting for him as a model. Chevalier deliberately cultivates a limpid, painstakingly observed style in homage to Vermeer, and the complex domestic tensions of the Vermeer household are vividly evoked, from the jealous, vain, young wife to the wise, taciturn mother-in-law. At times the relationship between servant and master seems a little anachronistic, but Girl with a Pearl Earring does contain a final delicious twist in its tail. Chevalier acknowledges her debt to Simon Schama's classic study of the Dutch Golden Age, The Embarrassment of Riches, and the novel comes hard on the heels of Deborah Moggach's similar tale of domestic intrigue behind the easel of 17th-century Dutch painting, Tulip Fever.
Girl with a Pearl Earring is a fascinating piece of speculative historical fiction, but how much more can novelists extract from the Dutch Golden Age? --Jerry Brotton
'A portrait of radiance…Tracy Chevalier brings the real artist Vermeer and a fictional muse to life in a jewel of a novel' Time
‘Chevalier doesn't put a foot wrong in this triumphant work … It is a beautifully written tale that mirrors the elegance of the painting that inspired it’ Wall Street Journal
'It has a slow, magical current of its own that picks you up and carries you stealthily along…a beautiful story, lovingly told by a very talented writer' Daily Mail
'A wonderful novel, mysterious, steeped in atmosphere, deeply revealing about the process of painting…truly magical' GuardianSee all Product description
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Top customer reviews
was true Tracy Chevalier puts a lot of research in all her books I have now read all of them and hoping she will soon have a
another one in print.
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Very well read. This is the abridged version.Read more