Frans Hals Dutch School

MISFORTUNES CONSEQUENT upon the war for Dutch independence led to the flight from Haarlem to Antwerp of the patrician family of which, somewhere about 1580, Frans Hals was born. There is little record of the early life of Frans. He was a pupil for a time of Karel Van Mander, a painter of no distinction. Of Hals subsequent life there has risen such a tradition of riot and drunkenness as is at least inconsistent with the number of his works and the brilliant precision of his style. His first marriage was an unhappy one and after six years he is recorded as being summoned before the magistrates for ill-treating his wife. That her death occurred a few days later has occasioned gossip, but led in its time to no inquest. His second marriage was more fortunate. He lived with Lysbeth Reyniers nearly fifty years and became the father of a large family. That Hals was intemperate there can be no doubt. The charge that he was a sot is ridiculous. To his contemporaries his talents made up for his faults. His portraits radiate kindness and good humor. Hals was, he must have been, a good and understanding man. The poverty in which he died has been the lot of many painters. That it was at no time too great for his endurance is attested by the ripe old age of 86 at which he died.

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