The mysteries behind a tronie (4/4)

Comparison of used pigments

Vandivere’s research shows that Vermeer had the following pigments on his palette: vermillion, carmine, lead white, carbon blacks, weld (a yellow pigment of organic origin), earth pigments, ultramarine (lapis lazuli), and indigo. Vermeer and Edwin both use lead white, especially in the skin and highlights, such as her eyes. Unlike Vermeer, Edwin does not use blacks in the skin. Vermeer used bone black, made of roasted bones and or ivory. Contrary to what the name suggests, bone black is more dark brown than black. For obvious reasons, Edwin can not and will not use bone / ivory pigments, although Van Dijkbruin comes a long way in the right direction. In the red pigments, both artists use original vermilion and carmine. But there is a difference, Vermeer used both pigments in the skin while IJpeij used vermilion and earth pigments in the skin. IJpeij used carmine only in the lips. Weld, an organic non-light yellow pigment. Vermeer used together with indigo as a green glaze over the dark background. IJpeij’s background is a combination of green omber and dodekop red.The other pigments were used by Vermeer in the clothes of the girl. Since IJpeij’s Girl with the mysterious Eyes does not wear any clothing, he has not used these pigments.


First, making a tronie is a nice artistic challenge. 
Capturing the character of the model requires striking the shapes and sometimes exaggerating them somewhat. The creative process of determining the composition and shaping by means of tonality is an emotional question.

Secondly, there is a very striking resemblance of the materials used in the artwork. Pigments, oil and primer show strong similarity. This means that the old masters have well documented their secrets in such a way that a chemist can interpret it correctly.

Finally, it can be stated that IJpeij has proven beyond doubt that it works exactly according to the techniques of the old masters.

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