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Girl with a Pearl Earring

by 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
 

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