Frans Hals, the most famous Haarlem painter of the Golden Age, specialised in portraits. He painted in a very assured and deft style. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Hals chose not to give his paintings a smooth finish, aiming instead to keep a sense of ‘life’ in them. Motion implies life, and Hals took care to create a sense of motion in his subjects. With his typically loose brushwork, he managed to create a vivid likeness of those who commissioned him.
In addition to paintings by Hals, the museum has works by his predecessors and his contemporaries. Furniture, ceramics, glass and silver are also on display. The earliest paintings date from the 16th century. They are primarily biblical depictions. Around 1590 Haarlem became the middle point of a new style: Mannerism. Typical of this were masterfully painted figures in contorted poses. In the 17th century, Haarlem was a powerful and prosperous city and a centre of art and culture. The painters of the Golden Age concentrated on everyday subjects: landscapes, genre scenes, portraits, still lifes and city views.
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