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Questions for Viewing & Object Information

These four images support each of the themes described in the Girl with a Pearl: Educational Resources and will serve as anchors for your museum visit. The accompanying questions for students can be used as models for promoting open-ended investigations of the artworks.

1. Jan van Goyen, View of the Rhine near Hochelten, 1653

  • Describe the painting. What is going on? What do you see? Who do you see?
  • Which people and things look closer to you? Which seem farther away? If you were witnessing this scene in real life, where would you be standing?
  • How do people travel and ship goods at this time? How do we ship goods today?

2. Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, ca. 1665

Johannes Vermeer's "Girl With a Pearl Earring" (c. 1665) is often dubbed the Dutch "Mona Lisa." Photo: Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshui 

  • Describe the painting. What might this girl be thinking? How do you think she feels? What do you see that makes you say that?
  • This artwork is not a portrait but a tronie. Instead of depicting a specific person, it is a study of facial characteristics and costumes. Do you ever dress up or pretend to be someone else? Who do you pretend to be? Why?

3. Adriaen van Ostade, The Violinist, 1673


  • What do you see in this scene? Imagine you were there. What would you hear? What do you see that makes you say that?
  • How do you think people had fun and entertained themselves at this time? How do you have fun and entertain yourself today?

4. Abraham van Beyeren, Banquet Still Life, after 1665


  • What kinds of food do you see on the table? What other objects do you see? If you could reach into the painting, what would you eat? What different textures would you touch?
  • Do you think this is a real or imagined scene? What do you see that makes you say that?