The museum asks the public to recreate a classic painting with wild results

The girl with the pearl earring? More like Guy With an Apple AirPod.

The Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague has launched an open call for creative works on Johannes Vermeer’s classic 17th-century painting – with some bizarre and delightful results.

The man wears a turban on his head.  No earring, just the Apple AirPod

There is no earring in this photo of Jessica van der Mast. Just an AirPod.

jvdmast68 / Instagram

A woman wearing a turban and pearl earrings holds the camera

Architect Zoe Molnar, Girl with a Pearl Earring — and a camera.

@polimizoe / Instagram

Scroll through posts tagged #mygirlwithapearl on Instagram and you’ll find over 4,500 interpretations of the famous oil painting of a little girl wearing a turban, a large earring dangling from her left ear. Greetings range from the beautiful to the whimsical to the surreal, and from the classic to the abstract to steampunk. You’ll see the girl in photographs, digital drawings, and oil paintings, reinvented into sculptures made of embroidery thread, toys, school supplies, beads, and multicolored buttons.

Navi from Avatar as the girl with the pearl earring

Double O Roos Multimedia Artist: “I let her cry for the world, for the people, and for the Earth.”


A girl with a pearl earring in which a robot appears instead of a girl

Robot with a Pearl Earring, oil on canvas by Julien de Puma.

joolz8000 / Instagram

They appear as a baby, an older bearded man, a duck, a dog, a bunny and a blue Na’vi from Avatar. In more than one photo, she is decidedly 21st century, wearing a face mask, earphones, or holding a cell phone. An artist superimposed Vermeer’s painting on a Tinder screen, calling the work “Swipe Right.”

A girl wears a mask over her turban in this interpretation of Girl With a Pearl Earring

A number of loyalist phrases feature face masks, naturally.

caydee_dejong / Instagram

Girl with a pearl earring, wearing a face mask

Art gallery owner Gia Kwok shows off famous girl ready to tackle COVID.


Have some digital copies created with AI art creation tool Like Dall-E? You can bet on that.

Mauritshuis usually houses the famous painting, but for eight weeks starting in February, the work will be on loan to the Vermeer Gallery at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Rather than leave the girl’s wall blank, Mauritshuis plans to spin some crowdsourced interpretations through a digital screen.

“The room where the girl hangs out temporarily will become a place of inspiration with as many girls as possible together, inside and out,” the museum says.

Pencils and other school supplies are made in the shape of a girl with a pearl earring

“My mission for me was to make this with what I could only find in my living room,” says Elisabeth Koch.

Elisabeth Kuchmilleri/Instagram

Girl with a pearl earring, recreated with embroidery floss

Submissions came in all kinds of colorful materials.

thisgirlwithapearl / Instagram

As the submissions attest, the museum has not set any limits on creativity here. “Self-portrait with a turban-shaped bath towel, ironing iron, or even a pile of crockery,” the letter reads. “Little is too crazy for us.” Registration for the competition closed on January 15th.

Vermeer, one of the most famous Dutch painters of the 17th century, is known for his intimate domestic scenes and his striking use of light.

His iconic “Girl with a Pearl Earring” has made a number of literary and cinematic appearances, including in a 1999 historical novel of the same name which tells the fictional story of the painting’s creation. This book led to a 2003 film adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson as a young maid in the Vermeer household, played by Colin Firth.

If you’d like to explore the original painting in more detail to better appreciate the re-imagining, an augmented reality feature called Pocket Gallery in the free Google Arts & Culture app provides a virtual viewing space where you can see and learn about all 36 of Vermeer’s paintings. None of them feature bots.

Girl with a Pearl Earring as a self-portrait of a bearded man

Visual artist Will Beerbohm, like many others, chose a self-portrait.

wilpeerboom / Instagram

Dog dressed in the style of the girl with the pearl earring

The “dog with a pearl earring” has a nice ring to it.

derinkat / Instagram

Earring in the shape of the girl with the pearl earring

Meta’s take on The Girl with the Pearl Earring: The Painting as a Real Earring.

yozay2020 / Instagram

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