The dual nature of pearls has inspired artists at all times: pearls have been used for centuries as attributes of vanity, purity, innocence and even generosity. According to the National Gallery of Art, “symbolically, pearls were associated with vanity and worldly cares. Titian, for example, dyed Venus’s hair adorned with pearls. They can also represent purity, as can be seen from Lorenzo Lotto’s painting of St. Catherine.”
In 17th-century Dutch painting, pearls are depicted in earrings, necklaces and bracelets of heroines in portraits, historical paintings and vanitas objects. Perhaps the most famous painting with pearls is rightfully considered the “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Jan Vermeer.
Jan Vermeer “Girl with a Pearl Earring” Continue reading