Arts & Culture

Singing Boy with Flute

Frans Halsaround 1623

Gemäldegalerie, National Museums in Berlin
Gemäldegalerie, National Museums in Berlin

Frans Hals was a Dutch painter of the Golden Age and is best known for his portraits. Most of them show wealthy citizens, as in 'Portrait of Catharina Hooft and her Nurse' (1619-20) or 'Malle Babbe' (1630), as well as large groups, often featuring civil guards. He studied under Karel van Mander, became a member of the Haarlem Guild of Saint Luke and worked as an art restorer for the city council. After the death of Peter Paul Rubens and Anton van Dyck, he became the most important portraitist in the Netherlands. His portrait of René Descartes in 1649 remains the most famous work of his life. He was a painter who practiced a realistic style: the faces and expressions he captured were not idealized but well distinguishable. He is furthermore distinguished by his fondness for daylight, his free handling of the brush and a silvery sheen on the canvas, although his style subsequently darkened somewhat during his active period.

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Details

  • Title: Singing Boy with Flute
  • Creator: Frans Hals
  • Date: around 1623
  • Physical Dimensions: w55.2 x h68.8 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Viewing notes: This head-and-shoulders portrait shows a boy holding a flute in his right hand. His head is inclined slightly to the side, and he seems to be listening to the sound of his music—the raised left hand reinforces this intention. The spontaneous, flatly applied brushline is typical of Hals, who frequently painted cheerful children, often making music. The picture type, the handling of light and the boy's theatrical costume clearly show the influence of Caravaggio's followers in Utrecht.
  • Style: Netherlandish
  • Rights: Text: © Prestel Verlag / Claudia Banz Photo: �� b p k - Photo Agency / Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Jörg P. Anders
  • Provenance: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

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