Vermeer's famous painting Girl With A Pearl Earring, often called the Dutch Mona Lisa, is the inspiration for this work of historical fiction by Tracy Chevalier. The author expertly explores this well known work of art and creatively imagines the story behind it.
Griet, a quiet and introspective sixteen year old girl, has an eye for detail. Though she cannot read and has no art training, she takes pleasure in arranging items by color and admires paintings in the market. When her father is injured in an accident, Griet must go to work as a maid for a wealthy family. Her long days are filled with tedious chores of laundry, helping in the kitchen, and trips to the market. Her master, Johannes Vermeer has a large family and she is often expected to look after the children while he is painting.
Always careful in her duties, Griet soon becomes the only person trusted to clean Vermeer's studio. They soon find themselves sharing a secret world of color, paint, and art. Though they find a connection through their love of art, they must always be mindful of their roles and the boundaries of master and servant.
Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier is full of rich detail describing 17th century life. If you enjoy historical fiction, I definitely recommend this book. (I recommend the movie too!)
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