Archers' pieces by Frans Hals
FRENCH NECKLACE MILITIA PIECES
General information about Frans Hals's militia pieces
Frans Hals is famous for his 'schutterstukken': life-size group portraits of members of the militia. He painted no fewer than six: five in Haarlem, one in Amsterdam. The genre was typical of the Netherlands in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By far the best known civic guard painting is 'The Night Watch', by Rembrandt van Rijn.
Gunmen were responsible for order and peace in the city. Every adult male citizen was conscripted. Because marksmen had to pay for their own uniform and armour, they were mainly from the upper class of society. Officers alternated their functions in the militia with those of the city council.
Explanation of the names and numbers of the figures on the militia piece
Around 1740, more than a century after Hals had completed his militia paintings, each figure was painted with a number that corresponded to the name of the militia on the corresponding name plates.
General Information on Frans Hals' as 'Master of the Loose Touch
Hals painted his portraits with a 'loose touch': quick brushstrokes in which you can still see the movement of the brush. From some distance, you can see the overall picture. With this style, Hals differed from many of his contemporaries, most of whom were much more refined. In the eighteenth century, Hals's manner of painting was considered too rough and too sloppy. A century later, however, painters such as Van Gogh and Manet hailed him as a modern precursor because of his lively style and virtuoso brushwork.
Who is who on the militia pieces
In 2013, the Frans Hals Museum organised the exhibition "Who is Who" about the militia paintings. Who is on the paintings, what did they do in daily life. On the site of the Frans Hals Museum you can read more about it. Click here for more information