Mona Lisa Vs Girl with a Pearl Earring

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Two well-known artworks will be discussed: Mona Lisa and Girl with a Pearl Earring. Both paintings come from two well-known artists. One in the Early Renaissance period, Leonardo Da Vinci the Italian Painter, and the other was Johannes Vermeer the Dutch painter of the Baroque period. Leonardo Da Vinci painted Mona Lisa and Johannes Vermeer painted Girl with a Pearl Earring. The two pieces depict several rich colors, but both paintings have two very different styles of artwork from different periods. Mona Lisa is a Renaissance-style piece, while The Girl with a Pearl Earring is a Baroque-style piece. Both paintings feature a young woman as the focal point. Both pieces have different stories but do contain some similarities.

Art has been around almost since the beginning of mankind. There are many different styles of art and many different ways to make art. Art is a way to express creativity. There have been endless artists over an unfathomable amount of years, and there are countless artists that left an impact on society through their forms of artwork. Two very popular artists and their paintings will be discussed throughout the essay. Leonardo Da Vica''s Mona Lisa and Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Johannes Vermeer, a Dutch painter, lived from October 31, 1632, in Delft, the Netherlands to December 15, 1675. Vermeer painted especially in the Baroque period. Vermeer made only 36 known paintings. Johannes Vermeer painted Girl with a Pearl Earring. The current location of this painting is in Mauritishis in the Netherlands. The piece is believed to be painted sometime in 1665. There is no known patron for this piece.

Girl with a Pearl Earring shows an unknown young woman in a dark room. She is seen looking over her shoulder and her facial expression is very soft and shows an almost delicate look. The girl has a pale complexion and her eyes appear to be hazel. Her face is turned and her eyes are looking toward the viewer. Her lips are pale pink and her mouth is slightly open and looks like she is about to speak. The girl is seen wearing a large round-shaped pearl on her ear, and she wears a long turban that is blue and yellow. The girl wears what appears to be a gold jacket with a white collar underneath. According to Alicja Zelazko,

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Unlike many of Vermeer’s subjects, she is not concentrating on a daily chore and is unaware of her viewer. Instead, caught in a fleeting moment, she turns her head over her shoulder, meeting the viewer’s gaze with her eyes wide and lips parted as if about to speak. Her enigmatic expression coupled with the mystery of her identity. . . (2017).

Girl with a Pearl Earring is painted on a canvas using oil paints. The dimensions of this painting are 1′ 6″ x 1′ 3'. This painting has a dark flat background, making the young woman look dimensional. The cultural influence behind this painting is that it is a tronie. In the Dutch Golden Age and Baroque period, tronie’s were very common in that period. The story behind this painting is currently unknown because there is very little information about the painting, let alone the girl depicted in the piece, or the artist either.

The Mona Lisa was a famous painting by da Vinci which featured a portrait of a Florentine merchant’s wife, Lisa Gherardini. Mona Lisa is pictured in a sitting position, looking forward with her right arm placed on her left wrist. Mona Lisa confuses many viewers with her half smile or maybe no smile at all. Her expression is caught mid-emotion in a very realistic way, which shows a change of emotion. The smile brings on a feeling of wonder; what must she be thinking about, or what is the meaning of her smile? Leonardo da Vinci uses the style of chiaroscuro (Sethi) which is light and dark contrasts in a painting to create depth and a three-dimensional outlook of a picture. (Chiaroscuro). The Mona Lisa also uses the sfumato technique, which is the blending of oil paints to create a calming effect (Sfumato). With the many methods and emotions of the Mona Lisa, da Vinci painted Mona Lisa and showed her realistic and correct side of a person in mid-thought. By using Sfumato and Chiaroscuro, da Vinci completely changed portrait painting and allowed artists including Raphael to create many new types of portraits. This new type of painting spread da Vinci's influence among many different artists and allowed for his status as a great figure to emerge (Britannica). Mona Lisa is a visual representation of the idea of happiness suggested by the word 'Gioconda' in Italian. Leonardo made this notion of happiness the central motif of the portrait: it is this notion that makes the work such an ideal. The nature of the landscape also plays a role.

In conclusion, both paintings have a few similarities and some differences. They both show a young female, who is the focal point of each painting. Both have rich colors and many details. The lines in these paintings are mainly directed toward the center. The two paintings are made on canvases using oil paints. The differences between these two paintings are that they were painted in two different periods, and both have different stories. Girl with a Pearl Earring is a tronie and only shows one figure, while Mona Lisa shows a half-length portrait in the painting. Both pieces are popular even today and truly show the greatness of both artists.


  1. Long, Jane C. 2008. “Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’ as Wedding Painting.” Aurora: The Journal of the History of Art 9 (November): 1–27.
  2., 'Botticelli’s Birth of Venus,' in, August 20, 2012,
  3. Zelasko, Alicja. “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., October 2, 2017.
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