The Girl With the Pearl Earring inspired a fictional account of Vermeer's life by Tracy Chevalier, selling +2m copies. 100yrs ago, the painting itself wasn't even recognised as a Vermeer. It was bought at auction for 2 gilders, 40cents. Interestingly, typical Dutch paintings of the time are narrative based, Vermeer removes symbolic references and demands meditation. You become the calm person in the painting, by holding a look that in reality could only last a moment.