The girl with the pearl earring? More like Guy With an Apple AirPod.
The Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague has launched an open call for creative works on Johannes Vermeer’s classic 17th-century painting – with some bizarre and delightful results.
Scroll through posts tagged #mygirlwithapearl on Instagram and you’ll find over 4,500 interpretations of the famous oil painting of a little girl wearing a turban, a large earring dangling from her left ear. Greetings range from the beautiful to the whimsical to the surreal, and from the classic to the abstract to steampunk. You’ll see the girl in photographs, digital drawings, and oil paintings, reinvented into sculptures made of embroidery thread, toys, school supplies, beads, and multicolored buttons.
They appear as a baby, an older bearded man, a duck, a dog, a bunny and a blue Na’vi from Avatar. In more than one photo, she is decidedly 21st century, wearing a face mask, earphones, or holding a cell phone. An artist superimposed Vermeer’s painting on a Tinder screen, calling the work “Swipe Right.”
Have some digital copies created with AI art creation tool? You can bet on that.
Mauritshuis usually houses the famous painting, but for eight weeks starting in February, the work will be on loan to the Vermeer Gallery at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Rather than leave the girl’s wall blank, Mauritshuis plans to spin some crowdsourced interpretations through a digital screen.
“The room where the girl hangs out temporarily will become a place of inspiration with as many girls as possible together, inside and out,” the museum says.
As the submissions attest, the museum has not set any limits on creativity here. “Self-portrait with a turban-shaped bath towel, ironing iron, or even a pile of crockery,” the letter reads. “Little is too crazy for us.” Registration for the competition closed on January 15th.
Vermeer, one of the most famous Dutch painters of the 17th century, is known for his intimate domestic scenes and his striking use of light.
His iconic “Girl with a Pearl Earring” has made a number of literary and cinematic appearances, including in a 1999 historical novel of the same name which tells the fictional story of the painting’s creation. This book led to a 2003 film adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson as a young maid in the Vermeer household, played by Colin Firth.
If you’d like to explore the original painting in more detail to better appreciate the re-imagining, an augmented reality feature called Pocket Gallery in the free Google Arts & Culture app provides a virtual viewing space where you can see and learn about all 36 of Vermeer’s paintings. None of them feature bots.