Beeldbrug episode 1: Rosalie Woudman and Meral Maas

Image left: Johannes Vermeer, Meisje met de Parel, 1665, Oil on canvas, in the collection of the Mauritshuis.
Image right: Rosalie Woudman, Untitled, 2020, Oil on canvas, privately owned.

The (modern) girl with the pearl earring.

In art history the portrait is not an unknown genre. Art historian or not, almost everyone knows the girl with the pear earring by Johannes Vermeer from 1665. Technically it is not a portrait, but a tronie, which is a fantasy portrait and not a literal representation. However, that does not matter right now. It is not about the correct typing, but about the similarity between Girl with the pearl earring and the portrait Untitled by Rosalie Woudman from 2020.

The two paintings are very different, also when it comes to dating. Even so, when I saw Untitled, I immediately thought of Girl with the pearl earring. The largest similarity is the position of the portrayed women. Both women are looking directly at the spectator from over the shoulder. Each woman also wears an earring, that captures the light. Both women have, in their own way, something sensual as well as something elusive, which makes the works harder to interpret. This is what makes it interesting to me.

Of course there are also differences. The difference in the facial expression is the most striking to me. The portrayed woman in Untitled has something mystical. Her full red lips, curled up in a small smile. Her look full of confidence; she is fearlessly looking at the spectator.
On the other hand, the Girl with the pearl earring has an unprejudiced look in her eyes, with which she looks at the spectator in a less pronounced way. For me, everything came together: Untitled a modern version of Girl with the pearl earring.

Light falls on the pearl

Different time, different face

Two women, one famed

The other unnamed

A look over the shoulder

Young, the other much older

Written by Meral Maas