Frans Hals

Flemish painter Frans Hals (1580-1666) spent most of his life in the Netherlands where he had moved as a child with his Protestant parents seeking religious freedom. He was to become the leading portrait painter in seventeenth-century Haarlem, a wealthy Dutch city known for its beer brewing and luxury textile industries. Although Hals painted some genre scenes of daily life, he was primarily a portraitist. He is most well-known for his group portraits of Haarlem's wealthy business groups, guilds and civic guards. He created a style that changed portraiture from a dry and dull recounting of a subject to something more lively and vibrant. His works seem to capture a fleeting, spontaneous moment that reflects something unique and human about his subjects.
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