In Response to Mr Paul Brookes Challenge~ John Berger’s Way of Seeing ~ People and Their Sartorial Styles ~ The Artist and the Camera~ Day 6 ~


Frans Hal ‘s Regent of the Old Men’s Alm House
HALS, Frans
(b. 1580, Antwerpen, d. 1666, Haarlem)

There is an old legend that Hals, reduced to poverty in his last years and an inmate of the Alms House, took his revenge on the Regents by depicting them in unflattering fashion. In fact, although he was certainly poor, he was never in the Alms House and the bold, free and animated style of the group is also evident in his other portraits of this period. It has been convincingly argued that the unusual expression on the face of the Regent who is seated on the right is the consequence of partial facial paralysis rather than – as the legend has it – drunkenness. Such candour is characteristic of Hals who felt no need to disguise the Regent’s affliction. The standing figure, without a hat, is the servant of the Regents.These…

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