Miss A.K. vs Miss P.E.

I have drawn and painted my daughter many times. The portrait, which I am writing about today is an obvious nod to Vermeer’s Girl with A Pearl Earring, but the artist is (a lot) different, the girl is different and the year it was painted is 2011. Here they are:

Most people interested in art, and those who have seen the movie with the same title, have Vermeer’s painting in their memory. When I was setting up my portrait, I was not looking at it. I went on arranging my daughter following my feeling about her face, colours and character, keeping The Girl with the Pearl Earring in my mind’s eye. So my piece is not an interpretation of Vermeer, it is a portrait styled after his.

Dear reader, comparing the two, and in the blogosphere at that, requires a good deal of courage on my part. I’ve been collecting it since 2011. Of course my painting is nowhere near Vermeer’s masterpiece in terms of artistic merit though it has a fair deal of character. The objective of the exercise is rather to put next to each other two young women, 500 years apart in time, of completely different backgrounds and mindsets and painted by two artists of quite different mindsets too.

A  couple of  things to consider:

1.The Girl with the Pearl Earring was not intended as a portrait but a stock character in costume,  or a tronie in art history terms. Mine IS a portrait of my daughter Anna, and this is an essential difference.

2. Both girls were dressed up – in this case turbaned-up. In other words, both young women were taken out of their usual  ‘state of head’ (pun intended) which brings them a tiny bit closer.

3. To paint this picture Vermeer was most probably using camera obscura  – which produces  a projection of the model on the canvas. I used a photograph to draw from – it is harder than tracing a projection but doesn’t make Vermeer any less of an artist and me any more of one.

So, what do you think  Miss Anna Kaleva and Miss Pearl Earring might have had in common if they were contemporaries? Would they be BFF or BFE (BestFrenEmies)?

2 thoughts on “Miss A.K. vs Miss P.E.

  1. Del Foxton

    Boryana Wonderful painting and wonderful writing And what would Miss AK and Miss PE have in common ….a mother that they could blame or thank for everything good or bad in their lives.


  2. artmoscow

    Vermeer’s girl: invites|expects engaging with the viewer, tilted head => while glancing at the viewer she’s dreaming about something that’s totally her own; fashion-conscious (a la turkish turban, the recent french invention of artificial pearl, etc.)

    Your girl: totally different. Not an accidental turn of the head, she makes an effort to look the viewer’s way (neck muscles). No tilt of the head => she’s there fully, waiting for whatever it is you, the viewer, may want to say; thus she looks much more confident, much less dependent on the onlooker

    I don’t think they could be friends, unless the rule that the opposites attract each other is at work )


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