Monday, July 11, 2011

Girl With a Pearl Earring

by Tracy Chevalier

I first saw this book several years ago on display at B&N and considered reading it. Many times I have picked it up only to set it down for another selection. When I began the reading challenge and saw a selection for a book with gem or jewelry in the title, I knew immediately I would choose Girl With a Pearl Earring.

The book is set in a Dutch village during the 1600's and tells the story of Johannes Vermeer and several of his paintings, including the book's namesake, by whom it is narrated. Griet is a teen when she takes the job as maid to the Vermeer's. She soon catches the attention of the master and painter who begins to use her as his apprentice, teaching her to grind bones and mix paints. She even suggests a few adaptions to some works that the artist accepts.

What I really liked about this book were the descriptions of the paintings and the stories about how and why each was created (of coarse it is fictional, but fun to consider the possibility). I used this website  to find each painting Griet describes. I also liked the explorations of color and balance discussed throughout the novel. I do not have an eye for these details, but I appreciated getting a glimpse of how an artist might work and look at things.

Now I need a trip to view these paintings in real life: New York, Washington DC, or Amsterdam would do!

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