by Abigail (’14)

Last Thursday, I went to the Girl With a Pearl Earring exhibit at the DeYoung. Ever since I read Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett in maybe fourth grade, I’ve wanted to meet a Vermeer in person. Last year, someone gave me a stack of novels about Vermeer paintings (apparently he and the mystery surrounding him are popular subjects for writers). I read them all obsessively. So now you can imagine my excitement.

The only disappointing thing about the exhibit was that there was only one Vermeer there, but if there had to be just one, I am glad this was it. It was the only painting in its room, lit softly. You could tell it had been set up like this for dramatic effect, but any sarcasm this realization might have induced was erased by the painting itself. Some reproduced art looks almost exactly like the original; Girl With A Pearl Earring doesn’t at all. I won’t even try to describe her. A guy behind me said, “Dude, she looks just like Scarlett Johansson,” but that doesn’t give quite an accurate impression, either. You have to go see her to fully appreciate her.

Or you could try Girl With a Pearl Earring, a novel by Tracy Chevalier. As fanfiction goes, it’s pretty high-class.