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The Girl in the Spotlight: A technical re-examination of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring

New Content ItemGuest edited by Abbie Vandivere

In 2018, Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring (c. 1665, Mauritshuis) underwent a technical examination within the research project "The Girl in the Spotlight". The painting was examined in front of the museum public with state-of-the-art non-invasive imaging techniques. Samples taken during the 1990s were re-analysed.

The goal was to document the current condition of the painting, and to find out more about the materials, techniques that Vermeer used to create this masterpiece. This special collection of articles in Heritage Science is devoted to the results of the technical examination.

The research project "The Girl in the Spotlight" is a Mauritshuis initiative and involves a team of internationally recognised specialists associated with the Netherlands Institute for Conservation+Art+Science+ (NICAS)+, and scientists from the University of Antwerp, Belgium, andthe National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA.

Cover image: Sylvain Fleur + the Girl and the Spotlight team. Logos on cover courtesy of and copyright to the individual organizations.

Table of Contents

  1. The technical (re-)examination of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring
    Abbie Vandivere
    Heritage Science 2020 8:26
  2. From ‘Vermeer Illuminated’ to ‘The Girl in the Spotlight’: approaches and methodologies for the scientific (re-)examination of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring
    Abbie Vandivere, Jørgen Wadum, Klaas Jan van den Berg and Annelies van Loon
    Heritage Science 2019 7:66
  3. Revealing the painterly technique beneath the surface of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring using macro- and microscale imaging
    Abbie Vandivere, Annelies van Loon, Kathryn A. Dooley, Ralph Haswell, Robert G. Erdmann, Emilien Leonhardt and John K. Delaney
    Heritage Science 2019 7:64
  4. Mapping the pigment distribution of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring
    John K. Delaney, Kathryn A. Dooley, Annelies van Loon and Abbie Vandivere
    Heritage Science 2020 8:4
  5. Comparison of three 3D scanning techniques for paintings, as applied to Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’
    Willemijn S. Elkhuizen, Tom W. J. Callewaert, Emilien Leonhardt, Abbie Vandivere, Yu Song, Sylvia C. Pont, Jo M. P. Geraedts and Joris Dik
    Heritage Science 2019 7:89
  6. Imaging secondary reaction products at the surface of Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring by means of macroscopic X-ray powder diffraction scanning
    Steven De Meyer, Frederik Vanmeert, Rani Vertongen, Annelies van Loon, Victor Gonzalez, Geert van der Snickt, Abbie Vandivere and Koen Janssens
    Heritage Science 2019 7:67
  7. Beauty is skin deep: the skin tones of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring
    Annelies van Loon, Abbie Vandivere, John K. Delaney, Kathryn A. Dooley, Steven De Meyer, Frederik Vanmeert, Victor Gonzalez, Koen Janssens, Emilien Leonhardt, Ralph Haswell, Suzan de Groot, Paolo D’Imporzano and Gareth R. Davies
    Heritage Science 2019 7:102
  8. Out of the blue: Vermeer’s use of ultramarine in Girl with a Pearl Earring
    Annelies van Loon, Alessa A. Gambardella, Victor Gonzalez, Marine Cotte, Wout De Nolf, Katrien Keune, Emilien Leonhardt, Suzan de Groot, Art Ness Proaño Gaibor and Abbie Vandivere
    Heritage Science 2020 8:25
  9. Fading into the background: the dark space surrounding Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring
    Abbie Vandivere, Annelies van Loon, Tom Callewaert, Ralph Haswell, Art Ness Proaño Gaibor, Henk van Keulen, Emilien Leonhardt and Joris Di
    Heritage Science 2019 7:69
  10. The Girl in the Spotlight: Vermeer at work, his materials and techniques in Girl with a Pearl Earring
    Abbie Vandivere, Jørgen Wadum and Emilien Leonhardt
    Heritage Science 2020 8:20

About the Guest Editor

New Content Item © Photo by Vera BosDr. Abbie Vandivere is the Head Researcher of the Girl in the Spotlight project. She graduated with a BA from Princeton University (U.S.A.), a Pg.Dip.Cons. from the Courtauld Institute of Art (U.K.), and a PhD from the University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands). Her research interests include 15th–17th-century Dutch painting technique, and making reconstructions using historically appropriate materials.

She is a paintings conservator at the Mauritshuis in The Hague, the Netherlands. She co-ordinates and teaches in the Technical Art History MA programme within the department of Conservation and Restoration at the University of Amsterdam.

Photo by Vera Bos

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