Tronie  

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The Smoker (ca. 1654 - 1662) by Joos van Craesbeeck
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The Smoker (ca. 1654 - 1662) by Joos van Craesbeeck
Girl with a Pearl Earring (ca. 1665, Het Meisje met de Parel) by Johannes Vermeer
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Girl with a Pearl Earring (ca. 1665, Het Meisje met de Parel) by Johannes Vermeer

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A tronie (Dutch for a "face") is a common type, or group of types, of works of Dutch Golden Age painting and Flemish Baroque painting that shows an exaggerated facial expression or a stock character in costume. In contemporary usage the term might cover any picture of an unidentified sitter, but in modern art-historical usage it is typically restricted to figures who do not seem to have been intended to be identifiable, so genre painting in a portrait format. Typically a painted head or bust only, if concentrating on the facial expression, but often half-length if an exotic costume featured, they might be based on studies from life or use the features of actual sitters. But the image would normally be sold on the art market without identification of the sitter, and would not have been commissioned and retained by the sitter as portraits normally were. Similar unidentified figures treated as history paintings would normally be given a title from the classical world, for example the Rembrandt painting now known as Saskia as Flora.

Several Rembrandt self-portrait etchings are tronies, as are paintings of himself, his son and his women. Three Vermeer paintings were described as "tronies" in the Dissius auction of 1696, perhaps including the Girl with a Pearl Earring and the Washington Girl with a flute. Frans Hals also painted a number of tronies, which are now among his best-known works (see gallery).

The tronie is related to, and has some overlap with, the "portrait historié", a portrait of a real person as another, usually historical or mythological, figure. Jan de Bray specialised in these, and many portraitists sometimes showed aristocratic ladies in particular as mythological figures.

Joos van Craesbeeck's The Smoker, similar to many paintings by Adriaen Brouwer, is an example of a "tronie".

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Tronie" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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