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Frans Hals

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One of the most influential painters of the 17th century, Frans Hals is known for his vibrant portraits and loose painting style that had a major impact on the art world of his time. His smooth brushstrokes and use of color brought his paintings to life, and even inspired later artists such as the French Impressionists. Born in Antwerp and moved to Haarlem at a young age, Hals was apprenticed to Karel van Mander and had a great influence on his contemporary artists, such as Judith Leyster and Johannes Verspronck. Despite his artistic success, Hals suffered from financial worries throughout his life. His works, including individual portraits and imposing militia pieces, remain impressive and inspiring today.

The art of laughter

Hals has painted several laughing people - from a modest smile to a full, generous laugh. He also sometimes painted wealthy clients with a discreet smile. That was special at that time. People from the 17th century preferred to have themselves portrayed solemn and serious. Moreover, the smile is a difficult facial expression to portray, because it quickly looks very unnatural. But Hals was a true master of laughter and mastered this art like no other. Hals also painted many laughing children – so-called children's faces. In a tronie, painters investigated how they could best depict a certain emotion or facial expression.


Large militia pieces

In addition to individual portraits, Hals also painted life-size militia pieces. These are group portraits of armed citizens who maintained daily order and defended the city during attacks. At that time, militia pieces were often very stiff and unimaginative. Hals managed to portray the shooters and officers in a very dynamic way. He placed the men in varying poses, but did not lose sight of the strict hierarchical rules of the militia. These lifelike, monumental paintings must have been extremely impressive at the time. And they still are today.

Discover the extensive collection of paintings by Frans Hals, exclusively designed by Lanzfeld Editions. The masterpieces put a smile on every face!

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