Title: Portrait Of The Painter Jan Asselin
Artist: Frans Hals
Medium: Oil Painting on Canvas
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Frans Hals the Elder (c. 1582 – 26 August 1666) was a Dutch Golden Age painter born in the Southern Netherlands (present-day Belgium). He is notable for his loose painterly brushwork, and helped introduce this lively style of painting into Dutch art. Hals was also instrumental in the evolution of 17th century group portraiture.
Hals was born in 1582 or 1583, in Antwerp as the son of the cloth merchant Franchois Fransz Hals van Mechelen (c.1542-1610) and his second wife Adriaentje van Geertenryck. Like many, Hals' parents fled during the Fall of Antwerp (1584-1585) from the Spanish Netherlands to Haarlem, where he lived for the remainder of his life. Hals studied under another Flemish-émigré, Karel van Mander. His Mannerist influence, however, is not noticeably visible in his work. In 1610, he became a member of the Haarlem Guild of Saint Luke, and he started to earn money as an art restorer for the city council. He worked on their large art collection that Karel van Mander had described in his book The Painting-Book (Middle Dutch: Het Schilder-Boeck), published in 1604. The most notable of these were the works of Geertgen tot Sint Jans, Jan van Scorel and Jan Mostaert, that hung in de St. Jans kerk in Haarlem. The restoration work was paid for by the city of Haarlem, since all Catholic religious art was confiscated after the satisfactie van Haarlem was reversed in 1578, but the entire collection of paintings was not formally possessed by the city council until 1625, after the city fathers had decided which paintings were suitable for the city hall. The remaining art that was considered too "Roman Catholic" was sold to Cornelis Claesz van Wieringen, a fellow guild member, on the grounds that he remove it from the city. It was under these circumstances that Hals began his career in portraiture, since the market for religious themes had disappeared.
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