‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ kicks off Great Art Wednesday at Town Hall Theater

MIDDLEBURY — Town Hall Theater in Middlebury begins its Great Art Wednesdays film series on Wednesday, Jan. 6, at 11 a.m. with a film that offers unique insight into one of the world’s most intriguing portraits, “Girl with a Pearl Earring.”
In “‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ and Other Treasures from the Mauritshuis in The Hague,” the camera offers an exclusive view of world-renowned Mauritshuis Museum, going behind the scenes to look at the extraordinary “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” The film seeks to answer the questions that have haunted art lovers for decades: Who was she? Why is the painting so popular? Why and how was it painted? Many of the clues that the film finds lie in other masterpieces housed in the collection.
Johannes Vermeer is one of the great Dutch masters and his “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” circa 1665, is one of the most enduring paintings in the history of art. He was the master of light, a talent that is beautifully depicted in “Girl with a Pearl Earring” in the softness of the girl’s face, the glimmers of light that touch her lips and of course the shining pearl.
A recent world tour garnered huge queues lining up for a glimpse of the painting’s majestic beauty. Over a million visitors came to see it in Tokyo — the biggest exhibition in the world in 2012. Interest in the most iconic of Vermeer’s works was clearly heightened by Tracy Chevalier’s blockbuster novel “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and Peter Webber’s subsequent 2003 drama, starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth. But there’s more to the story than that.
Following two years of extensive renovations the Mauritshuis in The Hague was reopened by King Willem-Alexander in June 2014. A bright and spacious new underground foyer connects the Royal Dutch Shell Wing to the historical 17th-century building, which has been thoroughly renovated and embellished. The world art critics gave a unanimous five-star review to this wonderfully refreshed venue.
The Mauritshuis displays a collection of world-famous paintings by Dutch and Flemish masters from the Golden Age. Masterpieces such as “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp” by Rembrandt, “The Goldfinch” by Fabritius, “The Bull” by Potter and of course Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” are on permanent display in the intimate rooms of this majestic 17th-century house.
Cinema audiences will enjoy unparalleled access to what some call “the jewel of Northern Europe’s museums,” and detailed, fascinating, illuminating insight into an extraordinary work.
Acclaimed British actor Hugh Bonneville narrates.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students, and may be purchased at www.townhalltheater.org,802-382-9222, at the THT box office, or at the door.

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