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Frans Hals
Detail of painting Officers and Sergeants of the St. Hadrian Civic Guard, painting by Frans Hals, c. 1633.


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Frans Hals

Frans Hals Short Information Sheet:

Frans Hals (c. 1580 1666) was a Dutch Golden Age Master painter especially famous for his portraits, mainly of wealthy citizens, and large group portraits, many of which showed civil guards. He is notable for his loose painterly brushwork, and was one of the introducers of this lively style of painting into Dutch art. Hals was instrumental in the evolution of 17th century group portraiture.

Dutch Painters Information Cloud:

Rembrandt, Rembrandt van Rijn, Leiden, Night Watch Rembrandt

The artist who in some respects stands nearest to Rembrandt was his contemporary, Frans Hals. Although the stories of his drunkenness and dissolute conduct are exaggerated, there can be no doubt that his character was open to considerable improvement. He was of Dutch ancestry, though born at Malines or Antwerp, and he lived the greater part of his life at Haarlem.

His great works are still to be seen in the Town Hall Museum there. Hals was Rembrandt's senior by 23 years, and had begun to impress his individuality powerfully upon the Dutch school whilst the latter was a child. Like Rembrandt, he never visited Italy, and his surprising force and colouring "were original and natural. To be appreciated, Hals has to be carefully studied in the grand series of canvases, crowded with figures, at Haarlem. His power seems to extend to rapidity and boldness of execution, rich colouring, i^^k, and the painting of flesh tints and light, splendid grouping of the companies of figures, so as to make a harmonious whole. ' He truly deserves/ says Vosmaer, to be considered the most brilliant precursor of Rembrandt, by the life and style of his figures, by his broad and bold execution, by his truthfulness to nature.

Rembrandt and Hals both had numerous pupils, and, in a sense, developed schools of painting. It is only natural that Rembrandt should have exerted the more permanent influence. Out of the many artists in whose works his teaching and style can be traced, among the most instructive are Gerard Douw, Gabriel Metzu, Covert Flinck, and Pieter de Hooch.

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