One of the most worthy representatives of Dutch Golden Age painting is the artist Frans Hals. From a historical point of view, this period is known as a time of especially severe persecution of Protestants by Spain. As a result, the majority of the population of Antwerp left their homes and moved inland. So the family of craftsman Hals van Mechelen went to the city of Haarlem, the capital of the province of North Holland.
Unfortunately, little is known about the childhood of little France. No facts were preserved about when his talent manifested, who contributed to its development and who was the first teacher of the future painter. Nevertheless, by the age of 27, he becomes a member of the popular society of creative people - the Guild of St. Luke. Hals receives the position of restorer at the local municipality.
In 1611 he marries, the first child appears, but his wife dies in 1615. Two years later, France married a second time and lived with Lisbeth Reiners for the rest of his life. Their family had 11 children. Five sons followed the path of their father - became artists.
Frans Hals mainly paints portraits, including group ones. So, in 1616, he receives an order from the military, writing a magnificent company of officers of the Guild of Riflemen of St. George and immediately becomes a famous and popular painter.
Since 1620, the work of the portrait painter Hals has begun to flourish. His genre paintings are known (“Peasants from Harmen at a wedding feast”), paintings on religious subjects (“Saint Luke”, “John the Theologian”), group portraits (officers of the rifle company of St. Adrian and others), many ordinary and family portraits (for example , family of Isaac Massa).
He is a sought-after painter - both ordinary people (“Gypsy”, “Cheerful drinking companion”, “Laughing boy” and others) pose for him, as well as high-ranking officials (chairman of the court Jasper Schade van Westrum), people of science and philosophy, for example, Rene Descartes. The portrait of this mathematician and philosopher is famous for its silvery black and white paints, the shades of which were perfectly conveyed by Hals. By the age of 60, Frans Hals is elected head of the St. Luke Society - he becomes the president of the Guild.
The artist has his own original style of writing. He can be called the founder of the future direction - impressionism. The author does not have “smoothness”, he is free in the scope of the brush and he has juicy, bright and at the same time warm and dense colors.
But with age, dark tones, black and white contrasts begin to dominate in Hals painting, and the color palette also becomes meager. Despite the large number of orders and the annual financial assistance from the city council, his material condition was almost on the verge of poverty. Perhaps this is due to the large family of the artist. Apparently, such an existence introduced the elements of "depression" in the work of Hals.
“A man in black clothes”, “Portrait of Timan Oosdorp”, the group canvas “Regent's shelter for the elderly” and other works of the author, in which black predominates, although with many nuances. About which, incidentally, the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh in the future will say that “Hals has at least 27 shades in black.”
Of course, tracing the creative path of the great Frans Hals, the difference between his works of the 1620-1640s and paintings of the late period is very noticeable, precisely in the brightness and vividness of the colors and the chosen nature. Funny musicians, officers' banquets, cheerful girls - in the first half of life. And people in black clothes, serious and gloomy, old regents - towards the end of life.
The brilliant artist died in complete poverty, in a shelter for the elderly in 1666. And they forgot about him for almost 200 years. But, with the emergence of interest in the Impressionists, in the 19th century his great and talented portraits and paintings received a rebirth. Hals works are acquired by museums and private collectors around the world.