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Vermeer’s ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring,’ This Time With Robots, Earbuds and Goatees – CNET

Girl With a Pearl Earring? More like Guy With an Apple AirPod. 

The Mauritshuis museum in The Hague put out an open call for creative takes on Johannes Vermeer’s classic 17th century painting — with some bizarre and delightful results. 

No earring in this photo by Jessica van der Mast. Just an AirPod. 

jvdmast68/Instagram

Scroll through posts tagged #mygirlwithapearl on Instagram and you’ll find more than 4,000 interpretations of the famous oil painting of a young girl in a turban, a large earring dangling from her left ear. The homages range from beautiful to whimsical to surreal, from classical to abstract to steampunk. You’ll see the Girl in photos, digital drawings and oil paintings, and re-created in sculptures made from embroidery thread, toys, school supplies and multicolored beads and buttons. 

Multimedia artist Double O Roos: “I let her cry for the world for the people and for the Earth.” 

doubleoroos/Instagram

Vermeer’s ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring,’ This Time With Robots, Earbuds and Goatees     – CNET

Robot With a Pearl Earring, an oil on canvas by artist Julian DePuma.  

joolz8000/Instagram

She appears as a baby, an older bearded man, a duck, a dog, a bunny and a blue Na’vi from Avatar.  In more than one image, she’s decidedly 21st century, wearing a face mask or earbuds or holding a cellphone. One artist overlayed Vermeer’s painting on a Tinder screen, calling the creation “Swipe Right.”

Vermeer’s ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring,’ This Time With Robots, Earbuds and Goatees     – CNET

A number of the homages feature face masks, naturally. 

caydee_dejong/Instagram

Vermeer’s ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring,’ This Time With Robots, Earbuds and Goatees     – CNET

Art gallery owner Gea Kok shows the famous Girl, ready for COVID. 

degeallery/Instagram

Were some of the digital versions created with an AI art creation tool like Dall-E? You can bet on it. 

The Mauritshuis usually houses the famous painting, but for eight weeks starting in February, the work will be out on loan for a Vermeer exhibit at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. Rather than leave the Girl’s wall empty, the Mauritshuis plans to display some of the crowdsourced interpretations in a digital display.   

“The room where the Girl hangs will temporarily become a place of inspiration with as many Girls together as possible, from home and abroad,” the museum says. 

Vermeer’s ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring,’ This Time With Robots, Earbuds and Goatees     – CNET

“My mandate for myself was to create this with what I could find only in my living room,” says Elisabeth Koch.

elisabethkochmillinery/Instagram

Vermeer’s ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring,’ This Time With Robots, Earbuds and Goatees     – CNET

Submissions came in all sorts of colorful materials. 

thisgirlwithapearl/Instagram

As the submissions attest, the museum didn’t place any restrictions on creativity here. “A self-portrait with a bath towel as a turban, a painted iron or even a pile of crockery,” it says. “Little is too crazy for us.”

Vermeer, one of the most renowned Dutch painters of the 17th century, is known for his intimate domestic scenes and stunning use of light.

His iconic Girl With a Pearl Earring has made a number literary and cinematic appearances, including in a 1999 historical novel of the same name that told a fictional tale of the painting’s creation. That book led to a 2003 film adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson as a young servant in the home of Vermeer, played by Colin Firth. 

If you want to explore the original painting in more detail before crafting your own take, an augmented-reality feature called Pocket Gallery in Google’s free Google Arts & Culture app offers a virtual exhibition space where you can see and learn about all 36 of Vermeer’s paintings. None of which feature bots. 

Vermeer’s ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring,’ This Time With Robots, Earbuds and Goatees     – CNET

“Pooch With a Pearl Earring” has a nice ring to it. 

derinkat/Instagram

Vermeer’s ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring,’ This Time With Robots, Earbuds and Goatees     – CNET

A meta take on Girl With a Pearl Earring: the painting as an actual earring. 

yozay2020/Instagram

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