This work is a magnificent example of 17th-century Dutch painting, of which the Thyssen Museum has a large collection.
During this period, the subject matter of art underwent a change, and there were very few religious scenes. This was due to the Protestant movement which had taken over in Holland, and which regarded holy pictures with disfavour. However there were certain magnificent exceptions, such as some paintings by Rembrandt. The favourite subjects of Dutch painting at this time were landscapes, individual and group portraits, still-lifes, indoor scenes, and seascapes. This museum has some magnificent example of all these genres.
This portrait of a family by Hals is one of the most typical examples of what were known as group portraits. It is highly original, as it was painted outdoors, and its composition is almost photographic. The painter has captured the sitters’ gestures and made them very natural. The parents in the centre, holding hands and looking at each other, are the very picture of conjugal happiness. Notice the white details of the lace on their clothing, in the fashion of the time. Their daughter is holding a fan, which is a Spanish influence, while the dog next to her is standing so close it is disarranging her skirt. Behind her stands a black boy, probably a slave, whom the family has dressed with great dignity. Frans Hals’ loose brushstrokes make him one of the forefathers of Impressionism.
(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Catalina Serrano Romero
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Permission: This artwork is in the public domain: The author of this artwork died more than 70 years ago. According to E.U. Copyright Law, copyright expires 70 years after the author's death. In other countries, legislation may differ.
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