✹ About Pearls San Diego Sarah on 22 Apr 2019 • Link In 1665 or thereabouts, Johannes Vermeer painted Girl with a Pearl Earring -- or did he? Yes, he painted the masterpiece known as Girl with a Pearl Earring, but look closely again. Think you see a pearl dangling exotically from her ear? The bauble is but a pigment of your imagination. With a flick of the wrist and two expert dabs of paint, Vermeer tricks your visual cortices of the occipital lobes into seeing a pearl. Squint as much as you like -- there is no loop connecting the ornament to her ear. Vermeer’s precious gem is an optical illusion, which reflects back on ourselves, and our own illusory presence in the world.