“The Regents of the Harlem Wanderer,” France Halsa – a description of the picture

“The Regents of the Harlem Wanderer,” France Halsa – a description of the picture
“The Regents of the Harlem Wanderer,” France Halsa - a description of the picture - 1

  • Posted by France Hals
  • Museum: Frans Hals Museum
  • Year: 1644

Description of the picture :

Harlem Wipers Regents – France Hals. Oil on canvas. 172.3 x 256 cm

   In the portrait of regents, in addition to the old servant, five men are depicted, very different in their appearance, nature and spiritual capabilities. A elderly man on the left confronts his limp, then devastated, then downed colleagues, with his limp energy-fed.

   Among them, carefully dressed in the last then fashion dandy at the right edge of the picture attracts attention. Nervous, torn, swift strokes are written by Hals cascades of crumpled broken folds on his white shirt; graceful hand gesture in dark glove against the background of lush whiteness of the sleeve; reddish pink stocking, pulling his knee (the brightest spot in the picture). The complete elegance of the costume, the aesthetic expressiveness of these fabrics, these colors are in a strange discrepancy with the tired devastation of a crumpled, some formless, although still quite young face. His neighbor, pushed a little further into the depth of the picture, descended and seriously ill, glaze in front of him with a meaningless eye. However, neither one nor the other, in essence, turns to the viewer, do not notice him, immersed in thoughtless apathy.

   In this regard, the exception among the characters of the picture is a person sitting in the center side to the table. On his rather young, attractive face lies the seal of mind and benevolence; the fatigue and frustration of his neighbors acquire the significance of a justified, meaningful worldview from him. There is too much thoughtful detachment in the viewer’s view, so that the living connection that was once so characteristic of many of Hals’s works is established between him and the viewer.

   The picture has noticeably dried, the colors have become cloudy and lost depth, and yet the strength and virtuosity of the painting testify to the enormous creative possibilities of an eighty-year-old artist. It happened that lovers of smooth, “pleasant” painting were unable to appreciate the beauty and expressiveness of the deeply subjective, individual manner of Hals. They said that his paintings were painted carelessly, that the artist’s hand trembled from old age. Even if this was so, his sense of form was so acute that wide, generalizing strokes accurately sculpted the volume, conveyed the nature of the movement, the texture of the fabric, and the complex expression of the human face.