This post is about the pastiche I’ve made on Johannes Vermeer’s iconic painting from around 1665 of a Girl With The Pearl Earring. There is both an interesting discussion about how it was – perhaps – painted and a movie inspired by the painting.
And there is a discussion, of course, about who the girl is, or could have been – nobody seems to know. Was it Vermeer’s daughter Maria – who was likely also a gifted painter – was it a maid in the house, a lover, or both?
It is a pastiche – defined by Wikipedia as “a work of visual art, literature, or music that imitates the style or character of the work of one or more other artists. Unlike parody, pastiche celebrates, rather than mocks, the work it imitates.” So it neither reproduces in details, nor satirizes. It’s an inspiration, perhaps an homage and it is, above all, eclectic – using elements known from here and there and putting them together but, simultaneously, offering the viewer something that has references to another work of art. It borrows freely and can be see also as a hodgepodge.
It is a challenge you set yourself. Jamel, the girl in this series, is from Uganda and one of my students in a master’s course on peace at Basel University. She is also a business woman, interested in art and handicraft and runs a shop in Kampala. And she is also very good at acting in front of a camera. I chose her for exactly these – eclectic! – reasons and because she obviously thought it was fun to try something like this. I too have never done something “staged” like this before.