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Frans Hals: 'A Family Group in a Landscape'

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This portrait of an unidentified family was probably painted in the late 1640s. The parents are seated in the centre while their seven children stand and play around them. They range from the eldest daughter on the right, who appears to be aged seventeen or eighteen, to the baby held by the maid on the far left. There is a poignant contrast between the still vigorous father and his wife, who has aged prematurely due to her frequent pregnancies.

The background landscape is by another artist, possibly Pieter de Molijn (1595 - 1661) or Reyer Claesz. Suycker (1590 - 1653/5), and may have been painted after the figures were completed, as is suggested by the outline of the boy in the right background. Such collaborations were common practice among the highly specialised Dutch and Flemish artists of the 17th century.

This portrait is datable on grounds of costume and style to the later 1640s. It has probably been cut down on the top and bottom edges.

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