Frans Hals Exhibition Catalogue

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Accompanies the exhibition at the National Gallery, London, 30 September 2023­–21 January 2024, and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 16 February–9 June 2024.


Frans Hals (1582/4–1666) was one of the most sought-after painters of his generation. Admired for the dazzling virtuosity of his brushwork, the Dutch artist built his reputation on a new style of portrait that showed relaxed, lively sitters, often smiling or laughing.


So confident was Hals in his abilities that he tended to paint quickly, straight onto the canvas without the use of preliminary drawings, possibly finishing his portraits in one sitting. His handling of the brush was equalled only by the likes of Rembrandt in the Netherlands or Velázquez in Spain.


This publication provides a fresh appraisal of this singularly gifted artist, placing Hals and his work in the context of his time. Chapters cover his spectacular militia paintings, as well as his marriage and family portraits, and his extraordinary depictions of laughter. They also offer an overview of the artist’s life, including his early move from Antwerp to Haarlem, and explore his family, social circle, studio and patrons. Illustrated with a selection of details that showcase his exceptional talent, this book reveals how Hals’s inventive approach transformed portraiture from a merely functional genre into an expressive, imaginative art form.



Bart Cornelis is Curator of Dutch and Flemish Paintings 1600–1800 at the National Gallery, London.

Friso Lammertse is Curator of 17-Century Dutch and Flemish Paintings at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Justine Rinnooy Kan is Curator at the Mauritshuis, The Hague.

Jaap van der Veen is an independent scholar.

Colour illustration212
Dimensions290 x 230mm
FormatPaperback with flaps
PublishedSeptember 2023
PublisherNational Gallery Global
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