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Product Code: Frans Hals

Frans Hals

This monumental monograph is devoted to one of the major painters of the Golden Age of Holland. Frans Hals was born in 1582 or 1583; he lived and worked at Haarlem, often in great poverty, and died there in 1666. His surviving paintings show him to have been one of the greatest portraitists of all time. Most of Hals’s sitters were men and women of the prosperous middle class. He also painted large group portraits of civic guard companies and governors of charitable institutions, as well as pictures of fisherfolk, merry drinkers, children and musicians. The almost magical spontaneity and boldness of Hals’s brushwork endows his paintings with a brilliance and immediacy that have assured him a unique place in European art. 


In this volume the author discusses Hals’s work, his development and the significance of his achievement, and relates the little that is known about his life, and the reactions of his contemporaries to his art. In presenting the historical background the author ranges widely and includes such diverse topics as social customs, the organization of Dutch militia companies, the activities of Hals’s patrons, contemporary fashion, and the taste for allegories and symbolic meaning in the art and literature of the time. Although the author's major emphasis is on Hals’s pictorial accomplishment, it may be said that he has also succeeded in reconstructing from the artist's work the everyday life of an epoch – a rare achievement in art-historical literature. This monograph of more than 400 images also contains comparative illustrations: some details from Hals’s pictures, but mainly paintings, drawings and engravings by his predecessors and contemporaries, as well as acritical account of the artist’s paintings, of copies, and of lost works, many of which are known from engravings made during his lifetime. The impact of his work on some of his successors is also noted. With the publication of this comprehensive book, a broad rediscovery of Frans Hals’s supreme mastery can be made.

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