MEETING OF THE CLUVENILE MILITIA
Painter: Frans Hals (Antwerp c. 1582/83 - Haarlem 1666)
Official title: Meeting of officers and non-commissioned officers of the Cluveniers' militia
Original: Oil on canvas, 337 x 207 cm, wxh
About the Marksmanship
On this militia painting, a large number of militia are depicted standing. Their meeting is taking place in the open air instead of inside - as in Hals's other paintings of militia. The background was once much lighter, especially the green of the trees, which has darkened over time.
Who do we see in the painting
In the group on the left is the colonel, with orange sash, surrounded by two captains and the ensigns (standard-bearers). Further to the right, the third captain, also standing, and the three lieutenants are depicted, and in the background the five sergeants. Their rank is indicated by the ornamental weapon, halberds (hack and slash weapons), that each of them holds.
The ensign appears to be the youngest of the group of archers, as he is the only one depicted without a beard or moustache.
Often the ensign was a young, unmarried man.
Master of the loose touch
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 can always be clearly distinguished. Seen from some distance, the overall picture emerges. Look, for example, at the large buttons in the sashes of the captains and colonel in the foreground: from close up, this is more like an abstract work of art, but seen from a distance it is a knotted piece of fabric.
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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