Girl with a Pearl Earring is a painting that has captured our imagination perhaps more than any other work from the 17th century. So simple and direct, yet shrouded in mystery. While she is an anomaly among his other paintings, Vermeer’s art is always still, quiet and ambiguous, thrumming in silent drama that is so different from other Baroque works. Vermeer’s story will be encapsulated in the wider spectrum of the Dutch Republic and its novel attitude towards art. Laughing in the face of Catholic ‘taste’, it turned the art market on its head and reinvented fashion to allow Vermeer and his contemporaries to create completely new genres of art.