Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Girl with a Pearl Earring

Tracy Chevalier

Inspired by Vermeer’s portrait of a young woman, this is the story of Griet, a maid in the Vermeer household. Griet is fascinated by the on-going work in her master’s studio, and as each picture grows, so does the tension, and the realisation that there is a something irresistible between the artist and the servant. On the surface, a gentle, simple story but within it are layers of emotion and complexity.

Extract

All the while I had avoided cleaning around the easel. I did not know why, but I was nervous about seeing the painting that sat on it. At last, there was nothing left to do. I dusted the chair in front of the easel, then began to dust the easel itself, trying not to look at the painting.

When I glimpsed the yellow satin, however, I had to stop.

I was still staring at the painting when Maria Thins spoke.

'Not a common sight, now, is it?'

... I did not know what to say, and I couldn't help it - I turned back to the painting.

Maria Thins laughed. 'You're not the only one to forget your manners in front of one of his paintings, girl.'

Parallels
  • Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach
  • Rembrandt's Whore by Sylvie Matton