Pictures Around Cromer
Young Man holding a Skull

Frans Hals

Young Man holding a Skull (Vanitas), detail, Frans Hals © National Gallery

Young Man holding a Skull

Frans Hals

Young Man holding a Skull is in North Lodge Park

Frans Hals Young Man holding a Skull, 1626-8
Frans Hals, 1582/3 – 1666, Young Man holding a Skull (Vanitas), 1626-8, Oil on canvas, 92.2 × 80.8 cm, Bought, 1980, © National Gallery

Young Man holding a Skull (Vanitas), 1626-8

Frans Hals

Oil on canvas, 92.2 × 80.8 cm

A life-size figure stands before us, holding a skull in one hand and gesticulating with the other. Although he faces us frontally he looks to his left, and it is the gesture of his right hand that focuses us: his fingers seem to project out from the canvas into our space.

Read more at NationalGallery.org.uk

Frans Hals

Frans Hals was born in Antwerp, but worked for most of his life in Haarlem. He is best known for portraits of the citizens of Haarlem, to which he brought an incisive characterisation and an unparalleled sense of animation. He also painted group portraits, depicting family groups, members of the civic guard and regents of Haarlem almshouses. These are generally regarded as his masterpieces.

Between 1601 and 1603 Hals was apprenticed to Karel van Mander, the artist, biographer and art theorist. In 1610, Hals matriculated in the painters’ guild of Haarlem. It is thought that he met Rubens who visited the city in 1624. The rapidity of Hals’s technique and his incisiveness can be contrasted with the studied fluidity of Rubens’s works.

Read more at NationalGallery.org.uk

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