“Banket of officers of the company of St. George ”, France Hals – a description of the picture

“Banket of officers of the company of St. George ”, France Hals – a description of the picture
“Banket of officers of the company of St. George ”, France Hals - a description of the picture - 1

  • Posted by France Hals
  • Museum: Frans Hals Museum
  • Year: 1616

Description of the picture :

Banquet of officers of the company St. George – France Hals. 175 x 324 cm

   The painting was written in 1616, when the artist was about thirty years old. This huge canvas is the first monumental work of Dutch painting of the 17th century. Just a few years before, a truce was concluded with the Spaniards, the country’s actual independence was recognized (legally it will be recognized only by the Ministerial World in 1648).

   The era of the heroic struggle has not yet been pushed back into the past, Harlem arrows are yesterday’s participants in this struggle. In their self-confidence there is a shade of a shallow good-natured humor, they are full of persistent self-affirmation, but do not oppose themselves to the viewer, as is usually the case in the ceremonial portraits of that time. They kindly and at ease turn to the audience, as if ready to accept him in their company. A friendly corporate spirit reigns here. The unity of the general mood is combined with the vivid expressiveness of individual portraits: here is the full self-esteem of Colonel van Berkeirode (second from left), and the mocking fat captain van der Meer (sits in front of the table, turning sideways to the audience), and the elegant dandy is the standard van Ofhenberg, standing at the right edge of the picture. In 1612-1615, Hals himself served in this company and knew all of them well.

   The composition seems simple, but in reality it is dominated by a carefully thought out order. Both in individual figures and faces, and in their grouping and in the image of space, Halsa achieved a special life conviction, that naturalness, which will become an integral feature of the art of the XVII century. In contrast to the rather dark general color, diagonals of motley banners stand out, red with white scarves tied over the officers’ shoulder, white linen tablecloth and a beautifully written still life on the table. Dense painting transfers materiality, weight of objects, their completed stable shape. However, here and in the poses of the figures and in free smear in places that laid-back mobility appears, which will subsequently be so characteristic of all of Hals’ creativity.