An artist fully formed in the Netherlands who never left Haarlem. After Rembrandt, he is the best painter in Dutch. Despite his success, he had debts (perhaps because he had eight children). He was a painter of portraits and group portraits (especially of the “Civic Guards,” all-male social clubs), as well as portraits of the inhabitants of the young Dutch Republic, who are always portrayed as rosy-cheeked, well-fed, well-dressed, happy, and prosperous. He also painted pictures of the genre, either of children or of peasants. Hulse’s work had a great influence on the art of the late twentieth century, when his style, having been totally out of fashion, was admired by young artists, including E. Manet.
The characters of his paintings, sometimes depicted in relaxed poses, are full of vitality and joy. He had a unique for his time painting technique: straight onto the canvas, with broad brushstrokes and bright colors. He was able to masterly command the expression of the eyes.
Frans Hals’s major works are Young Man with a Skull, 1626–28 (London: National Gallery); Mad Babs, c. 1629–30 (Berlin: Staatliche Museum); Portrait of Willem Coymans, 1645 (Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art); Portrait of a Man, early 1650s (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art).
- Robert Cumming. Art: complete encyclopedia. – 512 p. – Moscow: Astrel, 2005.