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Together, Vermeer and Griet conceal the apprenticeship from the family until Vermeer's most prominent patron demands that the lovely maid be the subject of his next commissioned work.Vermeer must paint Griet an awkward, charged situation for them both.
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.
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.
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.
He strove for realism, going so far as to blend sand in his paints to create an accurate texture of bricks in the famous portrait of his hometown, "View of Delft." The most well-known departure from Vermeer's calculated paintings is the intriguing, mysterious subject of "Girl with a Pearl Earring," thought to be painted in 1665.
In the painting, a young woman, adorned in an unusual head wrap and wearing a prominent pearl-drop earring, turns to face the painter over her left shoulder eyes sympathetic and slightly lowered, mouth demurely parted.
When Jan Vermeer and his wife approve of Griet as a maid for their growing Catholic household, she leaves home and quickly enters adult life.
The Vermeer household, with its five children, grandmother and long-time servant, is ready to make Griet's working life difficult.