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Taneke, the faithful servant to the grandmother, proves her protective loyalty by keeping a close eye on Griet's every move.
The artist himself, however, holds another view entirely of the young maid.
The painting was part of a visiting exhibit of fifteen paintings from the Dutch Golden Age on loan from the Mauritshuis in Amsterdam. The renovation is now complete and by all accounts a great success. But for over two centuries she was a waif much neglected.
When it came up for auction in the nineteenth century, only two persons recognized that the painting was a Vermeer.
Recognizing Griet's talents, Vermeer takes her on as his studio assistant and surreptitiously teaches her to grind paints and develop color palettes in the remote attic.
Though reluctant to overstep her boundaries in the cagey Vermeer household, Griet is overjoyed both to work with her intriguing master and to lend some breath to her natural inclinations colors and composition neither of which she had ever been able to develop.The moment captured by the painting is captivating sexually charged yet undeniably innocent.This is the subject of Chevalier's novel Girl with a Pearl Earring.A converted Catholic for his wedding day, Vermeer struggled to support a large family.Many of his paintings depict the wives or daughters of his Protestant patrons caught in the middle of common household actions pouring a pitcher of water, writing a letter, or playing an instrument.Tracy Chevalier achieves all this and more, keeping her audience wondering what the novel's outcome will bring as well as what facts their art history texts hold.Readers and art lovers alike will find this novel engaging, evocative, and insightful. C., Tracy Chevalier moved to England in 1984 after graduating from Oberlin College in Ohio. She lives in London with her husband and son and hopes to see all of Vermeer's 35 known paintings in her lifetime (thus far, she's seen 28 of them).As the merchant class gained monetary status in the community, so did their desire to be painted, just as royalty was just a few decades earlier.Jan Vermeer (1632-1675), a native of Delft who never left the small city, relied on the bourgeoisie for his living.The novel centers on Griet, the Protestant daughter of a Delft tile painter who lost his sight in a kiln accident.In order to bring income to her struggling family, Griet must work as a maid for a more financially sound family.