HALS, Frans
(b. 1580, Antwerpen, d. 1666, Haarlem)

Buffoon Playing a Lute

c. 1623
Oil on canvas, 70 x 62 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Hals's debt to the Utrecht Caravaggists is evident in his life-size genre pictures of musicians, drinkers, actors, and children of the 1620s and 1630s. But there are some significant differences. Hals was never fascinated by the experiments the Caravaggesque painters conducted with dramatic chiaroscuro effects produced by artificial light. The instantaneous expressions of his subjects never freeze into grimaces, and even when his models are dressed in costumes, he never creates the impression that they are posing in a studio; he always convinces us that we are watching a fleeting moment of life.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.