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The full-stack developer Louise Flanagan has dared to tackle an old master. She recreated “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” from pure CSS. The image is dated to around 1665, the CSS is very fresh.

Johannes Vermeer would be thrilled. The Dutch master painted his picture “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” around 1665 using oil paints on canvas. The Australian web developer Louise Flanagan also used a canvas. She gave up the oil in favor of CSS.

To be able to assess what Flanagan has done here, let's first look at a picture of the original painting. You can admire the original in the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague.

Jan Vermeer / The Girl with a Pearl Earring, image in the public domain. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

And this is what the girl with the CSS earring looks like:

Louise Flanagan / The girl with the CSS earring. (Screenshot: t3n)

Louise Flanagan wrote around 1,200 lines of CSS in order to achieve a result that is extraordinarily similar to the original. Flanagan describes the work as work in progress because mobile browsers still make rendering difficult. You will have the best experience if you call up the picture via a desktop browser, preferably with Chrome or Firefox.

If you are interested in the details, you can view the source code of the work via the editor view at Codepen and try out the effects of any changes to the code. Flanagan has promised to go into an article detailing how she went about creating the girl with the CSS earring. We can look forward to it.

So far, Flanagan has not attracted attention as an interpreter of old masters. It is true that she has already published CSS pixel art from time to time. However, these were rather simple exercises such as depictions of the Nintendo characters Mario, Luigi or Link.

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