Grift, a sixteen year old girl living in Delft, is employed as a maid for the Vermeer's family. She develops an unhealthy relationship with the painter, who asks her to model for one of his paintings. But she has to wear a pearl earring that belongs to his wife. The lure of the story resides in the complex ties that exist between the different protagonists. We see the evolution of Grift, from a naive young girl to a full-grown woman, who needs to decide what to do with her life. What makes the book interesting is that Tracy Chevalier does not take the easy road of a banal love affair but instead uses ambiguity to draw a contrasted picture. As Vermeer was famous for his use of light, she uses words to suggest details, revealing touch by touch the personality of Johannes, his jealous wife, Catharina, and his licentious patron Van Ruijven.
Author: Tracy Chevalier
I mentioned the Art Institute at the start of this post. I include below some photos taken by Fred.