Frans Hals 1626-8, Oil on canvas, 92.2 x 80.8 cm
cjr Youth with skull by Frans Hals 1580-1666
Frans Hals Galleries
In the field of group portraiture his work is equalled only by that of Rembrandt. Hals's portraits, both individual and group, have an immediacy and brilliance that bring his sitters to life in a way previously unknown in the Netherlands. This effect, achieved by strong Baroque designs and the innovative use of loose brushstrokes to depict light on form, was not to the taste of critics in the 18th century and the early 19th, when his work was characterized as lazy and unfinished. However, with the rise of Realism and, later, Impressionism, Hals was hailed as a modern painter before his time. Since then his works have always been popular.