Youth Making a Face (c.1633) by Adriaen Brouwer

Youth Making a Face - Adriaen Brouwer - c.1633

Artwork Information

TitleYouth Making a Face
ArtistAdriaen Brouwer
Dimensions13.7 x 10.5 cm
Art MovementBaroque
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About Youth Making a Face

The artwork titled “Youth Making a Face” is a work by Adriaen Brouwer, dating from around 1633. This piece is executed in oil on panel and is categorized both as a genre painting and a tronie, which is a type of 17th-century Dutch painting that depicts a character or type rather than a specific individual. The artwork, part of the Baroque movement, measures a modest 13.7 by 10.5 centimeters.

In the artwork, the viewer’s attention is immediately captured by the central figure, who is engaged in the act of pulling a face. The subject, a young man, appears to be leaning towards the viewer, his hands framing and stretching his mouth into an exaggerated gesture, suggesting a bold, expressive demeanor. The facial features are rendered with a strong chiaroscuro effect, which is characteristic of the Baroque period, highlighting the contorted features and enhancing the dramatic impact of the portrayal.

The attire of the subject is reminiscent of the period, with what seems to be a hat adorned with a broken feather, further indicating a sense of casualness or dishevelment that complements the humorous or mocking expression. The background and supportive elements of the composition are subdued, allowing the observer to focus primarily on the expression and the psychological aspect conveyed by the youth’s antics.

The somber palette and the dimly lit setting convey a sense of intimacy and immediacy, drawing the viewer into a fleeting moment captured by the artist. Despite the small dimensions of the artwork, the powerful expression and masterful use of light and shadow create a memorable visual impact, which is indicative of Brouwer’s ability to encapsulate human expressions and emotions.

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