BANQUET OF THE OFFICERS OF THE SAINT-JONGE MILITIA 1627
Painter: Frans Hals (Antwerp c. 1582/83 - Haarlem 1666)
Official title: Banquet of the officers of the St. George's Militia
Original: Oil on canvas, 421 x 218 cm, wxh
About the Marksmanship
Frans Hals is also known as 'the master of the loose brushstroke'. He distinguished himself from his contemporaries by a remarkably loose brushstroke. From close up, the individual brushstrokes are always clearly distinguishable. Seen from some distance, the overall picture emerges, as it does here. The composition - the way in which figures and objects are placed on the canvas - is freer here than in other civic guard paintings by Frans Hals.
In the painting, we see the officers' farewell meal after three years of membership. They wear sashes in white, orange and blue, the colours of the banner. Officers are appointed by the city council.
The people portrayed
Captain Michiel de Wael, in everyday life a brewer, involves us in the performance with his inviting gaze as he demonstratively turns over his empty glass. The ensign in the foreground is the link between the archers. At the bottom right is Captain Nicolaes Le Febure, a small man who, because of his height, is depicted standing up. Two of the standard bearers are also on the militia piece from 1616; they were standard bearers from 1612 to 1627.
Movement in the canvas
Another element that emphasises the 'movement' in this canvas is the way Frans Hals cuts off the figures at the edges of the canvas. On the left, the face of the standing man is only partly visible, and at the bottom right the arm of the seated figure falls away from the painting. This creates the impression of a photograph, which gives this painting an almost 'snapshot-like' character. As if Frans Hals was able to capture it with one simple click.
This masterpiece by Frans Hals is part of our collection of Haerlemsche Meesters and is on display in the Frans Hals Museum location Hof in Haarlem.
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