Girl With a Pearl Earring

Girl With a Pearl Earring Study Guide

Girl with a Pearl Earring is a 1999 historical novel by Tracy Chevalier. The novel is inspired by the famous painting of the same name, which was painted by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. The precise date of the painting is unknown, but it is estimated to have been completed around 1665. Chevalier purchased a poster with an image of the painting at age 19 and was captivated by the girl's ambiguous expression. This curiosity eventually led to a desire to create a story about the portrait's origins, and the experiences of its mysterious subject.

Chevalier researched the novel intensively, spending several months in Delft, Vermeer's home. She was also pregnant while writing, to which she credits both her motivation to finish the novel promptly, and her ability to empathize with the character of Catharina. It was published in the United States in January 2000 and immediately earned both critical and commercial success. It was well-reviewed in publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic and Publisher's Weekly. It has sold more than 5 million copies worldwide, and has been translated into 36 languages.

Girl with a Pearl Earring was also adapted into a 2003 film directed by Peter Webber and starring Scarlett Johansson as Griet and Colin Firth as Vermeer. The film was nominated for ten British Academy Film Awards, three Academy Awards, and two Golden Globe Awards. A play based on the novel was also staged in 2008.