Peter Webber’s Girl With a Pearl Earring is this week’s Classic Tuesdays film presented by the National Gallery at Castellani House.
The 2003 film gives a fictionalized account of the Dutch 17th century artist Jan Vermeer’s painting of one of his most well known works, which now hangs in the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague, a press release from Castellani House said.
The ‘Girl’, Griet (Scarlett Johansson) daughter of a blind artist must support her family by working as a maid and goes to Vermeer’s (Colin Firth) household to do so. However, despite his apparent fame, Vermeer is in debt, living from painting to painting and has a disaffected and highly-strung wife and a growing brood of children including a spiteful elder daughter. He is also beholden to an unscrupulous but wealthy patron, van Ruijven (Tom Wilkinson).
Vermeer develops a bond with Griet and secretly begins to paint her for van Ruijven unknown to his suspicious wife but with the collusion of his mother-in-law (Judy Parfitt) for whom another successful painting means payment of their debts.
The tension builds as Vermeer realizes he must use one of his wife’s precious pearl earrings as the crowning element of the painting with her knowledge.
The release said the film is notable for its brilliant recreation of 17th century Dutch interiors, household and town life and familiar details from many of Vermeer’s works.
Girl With a Pearl Earring has been nominated for Academy Awards for its art direction, costume and music. its photographer Eduardo Serra was awarded for Best Cinematography. Johansson also received nominations for the Golden Globes, BAFTA and International Film Critics Association.
The film is one hour and 40 minutes long and admission is free.