Who's that Girl?: What did the Girl look like in 1665?
What did the Girl with a Pearl Earring look like when Vermeer applied his last brushstroke to the canvas and removed the -now world-famous painting- from the easel? Are we still looking at the same painting as he once intended? And what painting techniques would he have used? In the free presentation Who's that Girl? the Mauritshuis shares the most important research results of what the Girl must have looked like around 1665. The presentation in the foyer of the museum also shows a mega-sized 3D print of the Girl, which you can view and touch. Thanks to very advanced research techniques, we have come a lot closer to Vermeer.
100 times bigger
On the 4-meter high 3D print, the painting, as we know it today, is depicted approximately 100 times larger. In a digital visualization, the visitor not only discovers what the Girl looked like in 1665, but also what changes the work has undergone in the more than 350 years since, including the appearance of craquelure (small cracks in the paint or canvas). The presentation also provides more insight into Vermeer's painting technique. The visitor learns everything about the artist's pigments and materials. In the presentation is a display case with the 10 pigments he used and a world map showing where they came from - cochineal made from insects found on Mexican and South American cacti and ultramarine that was made from precious stone from Afghanistan.
There are also more enlarged details of some parts of the painting. For example, the pearl earring is made with only two paint strokes. As a visitor you can see the transparent blue layers in her headscarf, the glitter in her eye and the moisture on her lips. Visitors can also touch these details and feel the relief of the paint surface like a 'landscape'.
Who's that Girl? shows a combination of different techniques: microscopy (high-resolution 3D digital microscopy from Hirox), 3D printing (elevated printing technology from Canon) and computer science (TU Delft).