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

Edited by Abbie Vandivere, Mauritshuis, Netherlands

Girl in the SpotlightIn 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, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA.

Image credit: Sylvain Fleur + the Girl and the Spotlight team

New articles will be added to the collection as they are published. Be sure to check this page regularly, or sign up for article alerts so you don't miss a single article from Heritage Science.


  1. Content type: Research article

    The use of non-invasive macroscopic imaging techniques is becoming more prevalent in the field of cultural heritage, especially to avoid invasive procedures that damage valuable artworks. For this purpose, an ...

    Authors: Steven De Meyer, Frederik Vanmeert, Rani Vertongen, Annelies van Loon, Victor Gonzalez, Geert van der Snickt, Abbie Vandivere and Koen Janssens

    Citation: Heritage Science 2019 7:67

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  2. Content type: Research article

    The initial steps that Johannes Vermeer took to create Girl with a Pearl Earring (c. 1665) are, partially or completely, hidden beneath the painted surface. Vermeer’s painting technique involved applying underlay...

    Authors: Abbie Vandivere, Annelies van Loon, Kathryn A. Dooley, Ralph Haswell, Robert G. Erdmann, Emilien Leonhardt and John K. Delaney

    Citation: Heritage Science 2019 7:64

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  3. Content type: Review

    Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer (c. 1665) is the most beloved painting in the collection of the Mauritshuis in The Hague, The Netherlands. The Girl was last examined during a 1994 restoration treatm...

    Authors: Abbie Vandivere, Jørgen Wadum, Klaas Jan van den Berg and Annelies van Loon

    Citation: Heritage Science 2019 7:66

    Published on: