Portrait of a man in a red turban by Jan Vermeer

Portrait of a man in a red turban by Jan Vermeer

Finally, the most famous feature of the picture are the drop-shaped pearl earrings of the heroine. They may, together with the turban, reveal the secret meaning of the canvas.

Probably, the message of the picture stems from the idea expressed by Saint Francisco Salsky in his work Introduction to the Pious Life, published in Holland in 1616. Salsky wrote that women and girls must protect their ears from “unclean” words, and try to hear only the morally pure sayings. Turban and earrings, in Vermeer’s work, probably represent the proper chastity.

The X-ray of this canvas shed light on

some methods of painting Vermeer. In most cases, under the layers of paints, the original sketches are hidden, but they were not found under the colors of this work, which is unusual, since without using preliminary drawings, it is extremely difficult to achieve such perfection of the figure, which leads many art critics to think about using Vermeer camera obscura.

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