Category Archives: Virtual Museum

Virtual Museum: The Girl with a Pearl Earring


“Girl with a Pearl Earring”

Oil on canvas, 1665
by Johannes Vermeer
Dutch, 1632-1675
Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands

Swivelling to her left, she glances suddenly in our direction, her soft face as luminous as the moon in the night sky. She wears a voluptuous blue and yellow turban on her head, while an improbably plump pearl hangs from her earlobe. A speck of bright moisture adorns the corner of her mouth, which is open as though she is about to speak. Her words, though, remain a mystery.
Seductive yet silent, this exquisite nameless creature is known simply as the ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’. The inspiration for a bestselling historical novel by Tracy Chevalier, which in turn was adapted into a 2003 film starring Scarlett Johansson, she was painted around 1665 by Johannes Vermeer, one of the masters of the art of the Dutch Golden Age. (bbc culture)

Vermeer’s most famous painting is also one of the best-loved paintings in the world.

Johannes Vermeer or Jan Vermeer was a Dutch Baroque painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of ordinary life. His entire life was spent in the town of Delft. Vermeer was a moderately successful provincial painter in his lifetime. He seems never to have been particularly wealthy, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death.

Virtually forgotten for nearly one hundred years, Vermeer was rediscovered in 1866 when the art critic Thore Burger published an essay attributing 66 pictures to him (only 35 paintings are firmly attributed to him today). Since that time Vermeer’s reputation has grown, and he is now acknowledged as one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age, and is particularly renowned for his masterly treatment and use of light in his work. (

The Girl with the Pearl Earring tells the story of Griet, a 16-year-old Dutch girl who becomes a maid in the house of the painter Johannes Vermeer. Her calm and perceptive manner not only helps her in her household duties, but also attracts the painter’s attention. Though different in upbringing, education and social standing, they have a similar way of looking at things. Vermeer slowly draws her into the world of his paintings – the still, luminous images of solitary women in domestic settings. (

It was originally titled Girl with a Turban and it wasn’t until the second half of the twentieth century that the name was changed. Regarded as Vermeer’s masterpiece, this canvas is often referred to as the Mona Lisa of the North or the Dutch Mona Lisa. (

Virtual Museum: “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt


“The Kiss”
Oil and gold leaf on canvas, 1907-1908
by Gustav Kilmt
Austrian, 1862- 1918
Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, Austria

Gustav Klimt introduced his “Golden Period” to the whole world. He was inspired by the golden mosaics of Byzantine churches he saw in Italy.

“The Kiss” is considered to be one of his most famous paintings in history.

The painting is portrayed by a man and woman embracing and sharing a passionate kiss. They are both dressed in gowns that are highly decorated. It can be noted that this painting showed how love should be at times. It should be intense, passionate and full of joy.

Klimt also used fresco, mosaic techniques and oil painting in this art work and this can be seen in the carpet of flowers. The play of swirls, spirals and phallic design was the primary composition of The Kiss. Gustav Klimt was able to bring forth the meaning of intimacy and passion in his canvas. Klimt brought to life his passion for the Byzantine mosaics in this beautiful painting. He was able to use this technique to bring a whole new emotion to love and unity. The entwined couple was a perfect symbolism of how love unifies couple into one lasting kiss. It is true that Gustav Klimt was able to show the world how he saw passion in his own eyes.

In 2003, this beautiful painting was commemorated by the Austrian State. It was part of a special collector’s Austrian coin depicting Klimt in his studio and The Kiss at the backside of the coin.


Virtual Museum: Girl with Oranges


Girl With Oranges
Luigi Amato
Italian (1898-1961),

A perfect combination of genre painting and still life.

Genre painting are painting of scenes from everyday life, of ordinary people in work or recreation, depicted in a generally realistic manner (Britannica)

Still Life is an arrangement of domestic objects or everyday items. It includes all kinds of man-made or natural objects, cut flowers, fruit, vegetables, fish, game, wine and so on. Still life can be a celebration of material pleasures such as food and wine, or often a warning of the ephemerality of these pleasures and of the brevity of human life (see memento mori).

No significant information found about this painting except that it was sold at an auction  on November 30, 2010 Toronto, ON, Canada. No information about the painter, too.

Virtual Museum: Raising of the Cross by Peter Paul Rubens


To celebrate Rubens’ birthday yesterday, we are featuring one of his most famous paintings.

“Raising of the Cross”
Oil on panel, 1610
by Peter Paul Rubens
Flemish, 1577-1640
Cathedral of our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

Known as “the prince of painters and the painter of princes” due to his frequent work for royal clients, Peter Paul Rubens was one of the most famous and successful European artists of the 17th century. His skill at arranging complex groupings of figures in a composition, his ability to work on a large scale, his ease at depicting diverse subjects and his personal eloquence and charm all contributed to his success. His style combined Renaissance idealization of the human form with lush brushwork, dynamic poses and a lively sense of realism. His fondness for depicting fleshy, curvaceous female bodies, in particular, has made the word “Rubenesque” a familiar term. (

Rubens painted the triptych of “Raising of the Cross” for the high altar of Antwerp’s church of St Walpurgis, which was demolished in 1817. It marked his sensational introduction of the Baroque style into Northern art. The diagonal composition is full of dynamism and animated colour. The artist had just returned from Italy, with the memory of Michelangelo, Caravaggio and Venetian painting still fresh in his mind.

In the centre, nine executioners strain with all their might to raise the cross from which Christ’s pale body hangs. The dramatic action is witnessed from the left by St John, the Virgin Mary and a group of weeping women and children. On the right, a Roman officer watches on horseback while soldiers in the background are crucifying the two thieves. In other words, the subject is spread across all three panels. The outside of the wings shows Saints Amand, Walpurgis, Eligius and Catherine of Alexandria. (


Virtual Museum: Cherubs in the “Sistine Madonna”



Virtual Museum #4

Cherubs in the “Sistine Madonna”
Oil on panel, 1512
by Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino)
Italian, 1483-1520
Alte Meister Gallerie, Dresden, Germany.

Did you ever wonder who painted these angelic cherubs that we see so often adorning giftware, advertisements and home décor? Well, you may be surprised to learn that the creator of this popular motif is not a present-day artist but instead, a Renaissance painter. The winged darlings are only a small part of a much larger painting known as the Sistine Madonna.

The winged angels beneath Mary are famous in their own right. As early as 1913 Gustav Kobbé declared that “no cherub or group of cherubs is so famous as the two that lean on the altar top indicated at the very bottom of the picture.”Heavily marketed, they have been featured in stamps, postcards, T-shirts, and wrapping paper. These cherubim have inspired legends of their own. According to a 1912 article in Fra Magazine, when Raphael was painting the Madonna the children of his model would come in to watch. Struck by their posture as they did, the story goes, he added them to the painting exactly as he saw them. Another story, recounted in 1912’s St. Nicholas Magazine, says that Raphael rather was inspired by two children he encountered on the street when he saw them “looking wistfully into the window of a baker’s shop.” (wikipedia).