27/12 2023 10:00am
Four hundred years since they were painted, Frans Hals’s portraits still breathe with life. There’s the hint of a smile, a hand resting nonchalantly on a hip, and just occasionally, a burst of laughter. Hals was one of the most sought-after painters of his generation. A gifted artist whose deft brushwork was unparalleled, he built his reputation on a new style of portrait – highly unusual in his time – that showed relaxed, lively sitters, often smiling, and even laughing. 17th-century Dutch audiences were enthralled, and the popularity of his portraits earned him the status of Haarlem’s famous son. This exhibition, the first major retrospective of Hals in more than thirty years, means a new generation can discover why he deserves his place as one of the greatest painters in Western art. Some 50 of Hals’s finest works will be brought together, including the exceptional, first-ever loan of his most famous picture, ‘The Laughing Cavalier’ (1624), from the Wallace Collection. From small works to large group portraits, genre scenes, and marriage portraits reunited for the first time from international collections, visitors will see the very best of his life’s work. Exhibition organised by the National Gallery and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam with the special collaboration of the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem.