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Frans Hals, A Family Group in a Landscape

Key facts
Full title A Family Group in a Landscape
Artist Frans Hals
Artist dates 1582/3 - 1666
Date made about 1647-50
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 148.5 × 251 cm
Acquisition credit Bought from Lord Talbot of Malahide, Malahide Castle, near Dublin, 1908
Inventory number NG2285
Location Room 23
Collection Main Collection
A Family Group in a Landscape
Frans Hals

We are looking at a family group, a mother and father surrounded by their seven children with a nursemaid holding the latest baby. There are two centres of attention among the sitters, formed around the two youngest children – just what you might expect in a large family.

These poses and interactions might seem spontaneous, but the arrangement is carefully composed. There is, for example, a clear hierarchy of the sexes. The men form the core of the family group, the father centre stage and his two older sons flanking him.

While we don’t know the name of the family, the style of the costumes suggests that it was probably painted in the late 1640s. The canvas has probably been cut down at the top and bottom. The background landscape is by another artist, possibly Pieter de Molijn or Reyer Claesz. Suycker.

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