The Ten best interpretations of Vermeer’s ‘Girl With a Pearl Ear Ring’

I love Vermeer.

Who doesn’t love Vermeer?

About ten years ago I took some portraits of the actor Sarah Gordy based around a selection of Johannes Vermeer’s more famous paintings.

Of course I wasn’t inventing the wheel, many people had and have since emulated his work in a myriad of different ways.

I give you here a selection of the finest ‘After Vermeer’ photos.

Some are straight copies, but the ones I prefer are a nod in the direction of the original, they play with the idea and come up with their own unique version.

To start with I am going to go with pure unadulterated class. The highest, high end of Fine Art photography. The Dutch photographer Jenny Boot

If you don’t know her, please go and have a look and wallow in the beauty of her work.

©Jenny Boot — Girl with a pearl earring

This image below is new to me. It was shot in 2004 by the photographer David Timmons and is taken from a series of images styled by Helen James and modelled by Julie Flynn.

I can’t stop looking at this image, it has just enough information for me to wonder why it is so familiar, yet with the painted blue arms and styling it stands on its own and is quite exquisite.

©David Timmons

The actor Sarah Gordy has Down syndrome. She has also had a West End play written for her, which she starred in and was brilliant and has appeared in many British TV shows.

She has an honorary doctorate from the University of Nottingham and she has an MBE (Member of the British Empire) for outstanding achievement and contribution to society and community.

This portrait is one of a series titled ‘Sarah_After_Vermeer’ taken by me in 2009 for the Down’s Syndrome Association’s Shifting Perspective exhibition.

‘Sarah_After_Vermeer’ ©Richard Bailey

And then we have Henrik Kirstens who has been taking portraits of his daughter Paula in the style of the Dutch masters, since 1995.

His portraits are smart and funny, but always beautiful!

©Henrik Kirstens

And this is a take on Henrik’s work, which is a take on Vermeer’s work.

A wonderfully witty portrait taken by Amber Cornish who has taken Henrik’s work and produced a curiously amusing portrait of her own and I think it is great.

©Amber Cornish

Irreverent, a bit spicy, nicely lit, but for the life of me I can’t find out who took the photo. This photographer has taken the iconic image of innocence and purity and given us a strong women who looks like she has just had a few cans of lager and wants to know what the hell we are looking at

And then just wow.

Visually captivating, taking the idea and adding great touches to produce a wonderfully bold, cubist, avant-garde portrait.

Shot by photographer Juergen Knoth (model Elisha Ku)

©Jeurgen Knoth

The Ethiopian-American artist Awol Erizku produced a body of work in 2012 called ‘Black and Gold’. The work featured a series of portraits depicting black figures cast within classic art-historical contexts. The most famous of the works was the one below, which is just beautiful.

©Awol Erizku

Okay, it’s obvious but I have to add Scarlet Johanssen from the 2003 film Girl with a Pearl Earring. Just perfect casting!

And then we have the thousands upon thousands of parodies and memes, from Marge Simpson and Barbie to Big bird……….and everything in between!

Acknowledged as one of the greatest painters to have ever lived, there are remarkably only 34 works that are attributed to Vermeer.

‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ has to be his most famous painting as well as being one of the most widely recognised paintings of all time. I adore it and have been lucky enough to see his masterpieces up close.

I wonder what he would have made of these ‘adaptions’ to his work?

Johannes Vermeer ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’

Photographer, curator, writer, parent. Lover of life.

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