|Girl with a Pearl Earring|
First edition cover
|Publication date||January 1, 1999|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|Dewey Decimal||813/.54 21|
|LC Classification||PS3553.H4367 G57 1999|
Girl with a Pearl Earring is a 1999 historical novel written by Tracy Chevalier. It takes place in Delft, Holland and was inspired by Johannes Vermeer's painting Girl with a Pearl Earring. It fictionalizes the circumstances under which the painting was created. It was adapted into a 2003 film of the same name and a 2008 play of the same name.
Author Tracy Chevalier came up with the idea for the novel in November 1997 while she was looking at a poster of Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring. She bought the poster when she was nineteen years old, and it hung wherever she lived over the next sixteen years. Chevalier notes that the "ambiguous look" on the girl's face left the "most lasting impression" on her. She describes the girl's expression "to be a mass of contradictions: innocent yet experienced, joyous yet tearful, full of longing and yet full of loss." She began to think that the girl had directed all these emotions at the painter, and began to think of the "story behind that look".
Chevalier did historical research for the novel through reading history books, studying Vermeer's and his peers' paintings, and spending several days in Delft. She was pregnant while researching and writing the novel, and finished writing it within eight months because she had a "biological deadline".
The novel reportedly sold over two million copies in thirty-six languages, and was highly praised by critics and readers alike. It became an instant bestseller after its release and was acclaimed in many countries.