After seeing the original painting in Amsterdam by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), photographer Barry Green was so inspired that he created a project to reproduce a modern day version. The project started with a study of Vermeer’s subject and lighting arrangement. The original was thought to be know as a ‘tronie’ (modern day pin up), sold on the high street as a means of generating income. The movie Girl with Pearl Earring suggests a relationship between sitter and painter, however in reality Vermeer’s highest income was derived from the rich gentry who wanted to hang paintings in their homes of their secret lover (unbeknown to the wife of course). This original painting was titled “Girl with a Turban” and her ethnicity may well have derived from the Dutch East Indies.
The model (Astrid Restu) was chosen after a six month search for similar facial bone structure, which is key to Vermeer’s compositional arrangement. The model’s mother (Dutch) and father (Malysian) aided with wardrobe and turban.