Join us for an exclusive discussion and screening of ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ (2003).
Inspired by Vermeer’s exquisite masterpiece of the same name and based on Tracy Chevalier’s bestselling novel, this fictional retelling of the painting’s creation during the Dutch Golden Age, stars Colin Firth as Vermeer, Scarlett Johansson in the title role, and Tom Wilkinson as Van Ruijven, the patron who commissioned the painting.
In order to support her family, 17-year-old Griet becomes a maid in Vermeer's house and soon attracts the master painter’s attention. Although worlds apart in upbringing and social standing, Vermeer recognises her intuitive understanding of his work and slowly draws her into his mysterious world of art and passion.
While she falls increasingly under Vermeer’s spell, his volatile family quickly grows jealous of her. Maria, his shrewd mother-in-law, struggles to maintain the family’s lavish lifestyle, and seeing that Griet inspires Vermeer, takes the decision to let their relationship develop. Van Ruijven, also sensing the intimacy between master and maid, commissions Vermeer to paint Griet’s portrait.
The screening will be preceded by a discussion on Johannes Vermeer and his life in 17th-century Dutch society with Gill Hart, Head of Education at the National Gallery.