The Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp

Few art forms speak to our imagination as much as studies of the human face. Current generations are obsessed with selfies, videos, and AI-enhanced filters. But in the 16th and 17th century, head studies were something completely new. Imagine back then, standing eye to eye with Vermeer’s soft explorations, Rubens’ dramatically lit faces, or Rembrandt’s expressive poses.

Now imagine combining our modern technologies with their old master techniques. The result is a so-called Tronie (the old Dutch word for ‘face’). Using AI and the museum’s collection as input, YIPP’s interactive installation allows visitors to create, upload, and share their very own modern-day masterpiece.

Experimental Masters

The KMSKA, Royal Museum for Fine Arts Antwerpen, boasts an impressive collection of the old masters Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Metsijs…and many more. The first temporary exhibition of its kind, Krasse Koppen (Turning Heads) examines how these Renaissance artists experimented with faces, removing them from biblical studies and rigid portraiture.

After an extensive renovation, the museum proposed a new, temporary exhibition that brings the museum’s old master collection into the 21st century. YIPP was delighted to create the pièce de résistance for the exhibition designed by Tinker Imagineers.

A study in 5 phases

The exhibition takes visitors through five different rooms and themes, including expression, lighting, and accessories. Playful, hands-on installations allow visitors to see themselves and others through different lenses, study the human face, and get creative through sketching and photography.

The five themes include numerous masterpieces from the museum’s extensive collection. Together, they lead up to the installation Tronie: an individual genre that encompasses head studies.

Your very own Tronie

The installation comprises a touchscreen where visitors can start to create their very own Tronie. Choose your preferred gender, age, accessories, and expression and see a masterpiece come to life before your very eyes.

Happy with your generated gem? Upload and share your Tronie with other visitors as part of the installation. The AI was trained using existing paintings and sketches featured in the exhibition. Meaning the style of the generated art is recognisable yet completely unique.

Want to know more about this project or have a similar project in mind that we can help you with? Get in touch with Wouter Verbiest (wouter.verbiest@yipp.nl).