Figure 1.--This Hals genre painting shows how he did even these as portraits. Hals did the painting seen here about 1620. The painting shows important aspects of 17th century dress. Hals shows that boys also wore the neck ruffs in the 17th century. Notice how the trunk hose of the 16th and early 17th crentury are here evolving into breeches.
We notice a few charming domestic genre paintings by the masterful Dutch prtratist Frans Hals which show the clothuing worn by children in the 17th century in some detail. Hals was born in Antwerp and his parents were Flemish. They moved Holland after the Spanish seized the city in 1585. His parents had decided to settled in Haarlem by 1591. It was there that Frans grew up and persued his career. He married twice and had ten, perhaps more children. Many of his portraits of lace trimmed gentry remind one of Van Dyck, butitvis the sober portraits of the Dutch bourgeoisie that he is more famous.
Frans parents were Flemish. His father was a clothworker from Mechelen (Malines) who married a local girl.
Frans was born in Antwerp about 1582. His parents took him to Holland when he was very young. They moved to Holland after the Spanish seized the city in 1585. His parents had decided to settled in Haarlem by 1591. Two decades earlier the city had been besieged by thev Spanish. It was there that Frans grew up and persued his career. Haarlem was a prosperous city, with an importnat brewing industry as well asc a reputation for weaving luxurous fabrics.
Art historians believe that Hals may have been trained in Haarlem by Karel van Mander, but there is no written record of this. Few of Hals early woirks exist so it is not possible to assess van Mander's possible influence.
As far as we know, Hals did not travel. He lived his entire life in Haarlem. There apparently was one trip to Antwerp. This is important because as he did not travel, he swould have had little opportunity to have studued the woirk of the great Reanissance masters and other great artists.
Hals married twice and had ten, perhaps more children. His first wife was Annetje Harmensdochter Abeel. She had two children before she died in
1615. Hals married Lysbeth Reyniers in 1617 who had eight children. Some write of him as a druken wife beater, but there is little real evidence to sypport this assertion. His second wife, hiwever, appears to have been a ratherquarelsome person. He does appear to have had considerable financial difficulties. He died pennlines, although the Haarlem authorities provided a small stipend dutring his last few years.
His earliest surviving work dates to 1611. As he entered the Haarlem artists' guild in 1610, it is unlikely that there are a lot of earlier works. We are not sure what he had done earlier. This was rather a late start for an artist. He was nearly 30 years old. His work before 1616 was competent, but not of the same power as his later work. There were several sedate portraits. Hals began doing soime group portraits. Than in 1616 he painted the life-size group portrait "The Banquet of the
Officers of the St George Militia Company." It was a masterful work and has become a virtual icon in Dutch history. Hals powerful portayal of these men represent the kind of brave, decisive men who founded and fought for the Dutch Reoublic against a emensely superior Spanish Army. It was this painting that established Hals gift as a portratist. Haarlem was a prosperous city with merchants willing to pay for a portait from the now renowned Hals. Hals painted many portarits of cavileer gentlemen in colorful rich fabrics. The Dutch had, however, fought the Spanish for independence to protect their Protestant relgous faith. The Dutch Protestants did not believe in austentatious dress and wore only black and white, although they were made of fine fabric and careful workmanship. This does not show in the portraits which at first glance seem boringly similar with stark contrasts. Hals used the bkack and white clothes to add emphasis to the facial features and complexion of his subjects.
Hals is regarded as the first important great artist of the fabeled 17th-century Dutch school that so brillaintly painted genre works of Dutch life and portraits of the Dutch eliete. Hals himself is wudely regarded as one of the graetest portratists of all time and he persued portaiture with a single-minded passion. Many of his portraits of lace trimmed gentry remind one of Van Dyck. Hals body of work is almost entirely made up of portraits. There are a few some genre scenes and religious paintings as well, but these are largely done as portraits. He soon was in great demand and he painted numerous portraits in the 1620s and 30s. Perhaps his most famous portarit is "The Laughing Cavalier" (1624). He did several large portraits of Dutch Civil Guards. Hals portraits in the 1630s become less detailed and he begins using a more somber pallett. Late in life during the 1660s he produced a series of gripping group
portraits of the Regents and the Regentesses of the Old Men's Alms House. Few artists have capture the emotion that Hals has painyted into his canvass. For these portraits he returns to the brighter colors and brush work of sime of his earlier portarits.
It is astonishing given the detail in his portaits that Hals did not first sketch them. In fact he opainted on a blank canvass without any preliminary sketches. He seems to have worked very rapidly.
Hals did the painting seen here about 1620 (figure 1). The painting shows important aspects of 17th century dress. Hals shows that boys also wore the neck ruffs in the 17th century. Notice how the trunk hose of the 16th and early 17th crentury are here evolving into breeches. Alsoi noticevthe false sleeves.portrait by Danish artist C. Hansen shows a boy with short.
Two of Hals brithers and five of his sons also painted, but with only limited success. Only his Dirk (1591-1656) is regarded as a substantial artist. Dirk painted some cheerful small interior scenes. Hals tried to teach painting to his sons as well as several pupils including some who achieved considerable success. Some who are thought to have been taught by him include: Judith Leyster, Jan Miense Molenaer, Adriaen van Ostade, Adriaen Brouwer, and Philips Wouwerman.
Hals reputation declined soon after his death. I am not sure why, esopecially given his impoprtance in Dutch history. The art word appears ti have rediscovered him in the late 19th century. The immpressionsts in particular were struck by his work. I am not sure just what attracted them, but surely his loose free technique and rapid bruush strokes were factors.
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