New secrets of Vermeers Girl with a Pearl Earring to be revealed online next week

Girl with a Pearl Earring (around 1665) made up of images from the research project Girl in the Spotlight Photo: Sylvain Fleur

The results of an extensive technical examination of Johannes Vermeers Girl with a Pearl Earring (around 1665) will be announced early next week, giving new insights into how the Dutch artist painted one of the most famous works in the world. On 28 April, the Mauritshuis in The Hague will unveil a web page detailing the new findings, throwing new light on Vermeers brushwork, the use of pigments, and how he “built up” the painting in different layers.

An international team of conservators, scientists and researchers spent two weeks in early 2018 studying the painting in a specially constructed glass studio at the Mauritshuis, enabling members of the public to follow the forensic analysis.

The research project, known as The Girl in the Spotlight, was led by the Mauritshuis's paintings conservator Abbie Vandivere who worked with specialists at several other institutions including the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Delft University of Technology. The painting was last examined in 1994 during a conservation treatment.

Vandivere outlines in a blog the purpose and processes of the initiative, saying: “Which materials did Vermeer use, and where did they come from? Which techniques did Vermeer use to create subtle optical effects? What did the painting look like originally, and how has it changed?” The research involved non-invasive imaging and scanning techniques, digital microscopy and paint sample analysis.

The blog contains a wealth of detail on the canvas, pigments, oil and other materials Vermeer used to create the work. In a section called “Watching Paint Dry”, she writes: “How did Vermeer make the paint that was used in the Girl with a Pearl Earring? Like most 17th-century Dutch artists, he used oil paint.” The binding medium used to paint the work is linseed oil, made from the seeds of the flax plant, she says

“The slow drying speed of oil paint allowed Vermeer to blend colours together in the Read More – Source