Girl with a Red Hat
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Before there was the Girl with a Pearl Earring, there was just Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with the Red Hat.

Like Girl with a Pearl Earring, this painting is also a “tronie” (not to be confused with a phony or a jabroni). Back in the day, people used the term to describe a type of painting where the subject rocked a costume or made a crazy facial expression, so that the painter could show off his mad skills. This is likely why homegirl sports such a bold red hat, as according to historians this type of hat wasn’t common in Dutch fashion or paintings at the time. Or, maybe she was just a trendsetter? Besides making up a pretty sweet outfit, the hat, the pearls, and the blue allowed Vermeer to show off his flair for light and textures.

The painting also contains a hidden element, buried under the layers of paint. Thanks to X-rays, researchers discovered an unfinished portrait of a man with a wide-brimmed hat underneath the painting. Vermeer, however, flipped the panel upside down for a fresh start, so that the previous portrait wouldn’t influence or distract him while he was painting. As the style of painting used in the concealed portrait is very different from Vermeer, some historians think Carel Fabritius, another Dutch artist, may have painted it.

Girl with the Red Hat is also one of Vermeer’s smallest works, measuring just 9 by 7 inches. It’s also painted on a panel rather than a canvas. V was really mixing it up with this one! He only used a panel for one other painting — Girl with a Flute. However, because nothing is ever straightforward in the world of art, some scholars doubt whether or not Vermeer is actually the artist behind Girl with the Red Hat. There’s even a theory that it was painted by his daughter Maria, who many believe is also the girl in the red hat, making it …. wait for it…. a selfie! She is also thought to have modeled for Girl with a Pearl Earring. Man, being the daughter of an artist really is a full time job. So now only one question remains: will the Girl With the Red Hat ever have her chance on the big screen?




  1. “5 Things to Know About Girl With the Red Hat,” Birmingham Museum of Art, accessed January 24, 2018,
  2. “The Girl with the Red Hat,”, accessed January 24, 2018,
  3. Carrigan, Margaret, “What Is the Greatest Vermeer Painting? The 10 Most Iconic Works by the Dutch Master, Ranked,” artnet news, published October 17, 2017,
  4. “Girl with the Red Hat,” National Gallery of Art, accessed January 24, 2018,
  5. Greer, Germaine, “Vermeer's Girl With the Red Hat is a fabulous painting – but is it actually by a woman?”, published July 12, 2009,

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Girl with a Red Hat

Girl with a Red Hat is a rather small painting, signed by the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. It is seen as one of a number of Vermeer's tronies – depictions of models fancifully dressed that were not (as far as is known) intended to be portraits of specific, identifiable subjects. Others believe it is a portrait. Whether Vermeer chose family members as models or found them elsewhere in Delft is irrelevant to the appreciation of his paintings. Its attribution to Vermeer – as it is on a (recycled) wood panel and not on canvas – has been a matter of controversy with scholars on both sides of the argument.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Girl with a Red Hat.