National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Portrait of a Gentleman Frans Hals (artist)
Dutch, c. 1582/1583 - 1666
Portrait of a Gentleman, 1650/1652
oil on canvas
overall: 114 x 85 cm (44 7/8 x 33 7/16 in.)
Widener Collection
1942.9.29
On View
From the Tour: Frans Hals
Object 6 of 7

Sketchy contours, especially around the hat and cape, are evidence that Hals improvised and adjusted this design as he worked. The long cape, the tassels on the collar, and the gloves dangling idly from one hand indicate that the patron was a person of some means. Like Hals' Adriaen van Ostade, this gentleman has removed his right glove to shake hands.

The very fact that this is a three-quarter-length figure adds to its dignity. Full-length, life-size portraits of individual sitters were very unusual in seventeenth-century Holland, probably because the Dutch burghers associated such large images with aristocratic pretensions. Frans Hals painted only one life-size, full-length likeness of an individual sitter. A three-quarter-length portrait, therefore, is as about as grandiose a work as this matter-of-fact artist produced. Even here, though, Hals candidly recorded a mole on the handsome sitter's cheek.

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