Girl with a Pearl Earring subject to the most advanced technology


The famous painting "Girl with a Pearl Earring" of Johannes Vermeer is currently undergoing detailed examination using the most advanced technologies. The painting is being continuously scanned for two weeks using top-of-the-range equipment. The University of Antwerp has contributed to this technical and artistic adventure through its ultra-modern Macro X-ray fluorescence (MA-XRF) scanning technique, "the scanner that goes a step further".

Scientists are hoping to discover how the masterpiece was created, i.e. the painting techniques and the materials (oil and pigments, for example) used by Vermeer and the extent to which we can talk about discolouration in the 17th century.

Visitors to the "Mauritshuis" in The Hague can witness the operation and discover the laboratory housed behind the glass enclosure. Once the scanning is complete, the public's favourite painting will be returned to its usual spot. "Girl with a Pearl Earring" will have become one of the best documented paintings in the world.

"Girl with a Pearl Earring", sometimes called the Dutch Mona Lisa, is an oil on canvas painted by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer circa 1665. The Dutch baroque painter Johannes or Jan Van der Meer, known as Vermeer or Vermeer of Delft, was baptised in Delft (Dutch Republic) on 31 October 1632 and buried in the same town on 15 December 1675. "Girl with a Pearl Earring" and "The Milkmaid" are among the most famous works in the history of painting, and Vermeer, together with Rembrandt and Frans Hals, is one of the Masters of the Dutch Golden Age. Click here for an overview of his life and work.