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There's a New Girl in Town

She hasn't been to New York City for some thirty years but hasn't changed a bit. Vermeer's Girl With a Pearl Earring will reside at the Frick Museum as part of the touring exhibit Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis. Milady will be in town through January 19, 2014, before departing for her final stop in Italy.
Sometimes mistaken for a portrait, Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, an oil on canvas painted about 1665, belongs to a distinctly Dutch subcategory of portraiture known as the tronie, a type of picture popularized in the 1630s by Rembrandt and other artists. Tronies represented stock characters and depicted idealized faces or exaggerated expressions, with subjects frequently sporting exotic costumes. Unlike commissioned portraits, tronies were sold on the open market. Although the girl’s features may have been inspired by a live model, we have no idea who she was, and Vermeer would not have felt her identity relevant to our enjoyment of the work.
I love how this anonymous girl goes on to become one of the most remembered faces of her time. The Girl will occupy a special place as the sole picture in the museum's Oval Room, while the Frick's three Vermeers will be on display in the adjacent West Gallery.

Not to be outdone, paintings by Frans Hals, Pieter Claesz, Rembrandt, Gerard ter Borch, Carel Fabritius, Jan Steen, Jacob van Ruisdael, Nicolaes Maes, and Adriaen Coorte will be displayed in the adjacent East Gallery. So, while everyone is ogling the girl with the pearl, you may find that Frans Hals or Jan Steen or some of the lesser-known artists may be even more to your liking. Timed ticketing will be in play during this exhibit and, surprise, an additional gift shop has been set up. The poor little Frick is about to get slammed.

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