Portrait of an Elderly Man (c. 1627-30) by Frans Hals

Portrait of an Elderly Man - Frans Hals - c.1627 - c.1630

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of an Elderly Man
ArtistFrans Hals
Datec.1627 - c.1630
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions45 1/2 x 36 in. (115.6 x 91.4 cm)
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationFrick Collection, New York City, NY, US

About Portrait of an Elderly Man

The artwork “Portrait of an Elderly Man” is a quintessential example of Baroque portraiture by the renowned artist Frans Hals, completed circa 1627 to 1630. This oil on canvas masterpiece measures 45 1/2 by 36 inches (115.6 by 91.4 cm) and is part of the collection at the Frick Collection in New York City, NY, United States. The genre of this painting is a portrait, reflective of the period’s artistic inclinations towards realism and character study.

In the artwork, we observe an elderly gentleman captured in a moment of calm repose. He is attired in clothing indicative of the era, featuring a generously proportioned, white ruffled collar, which stands as a stark contrast to his dark, somber clothes. The man appears to be wearing a black doublet with full sleeves, suggesting a status of social importance or affluence. His posture is relaxed yet dignified, leaning slightly on what appears to be the arm of a chair or balustrade, with one hand gently holding a pair of gloves. This gesture, a common motif in portraiture of the time, was often used to convey the subject’s social standing and elegance.

The man’s visage is rendered with skillful attention to texture and the subtleties of human expression. Hals has captured a hint of a smile, or perhaps a knowing smirk, giving us a glimpse into the subject’s personality, suggesting wisdom or an approachable character. The warm, directional lighting illuminates the flesh tones and the intricate lace of the collar, while the overall palette remains restrained, allowing the viewer’s focus to remain on the subject’s face and hands.

Hals’ brushwork demonstrates a combination of precision in the man’s features and looser, more fluid strokes in the clothing and background, characteristic of the Baroque movement’s dynamic, lifelike portrayal of subjects. The background is muted and nondescript, which serves to emphasize the figure and his expression. It is a testament to Hals’ mastery as a portraitist, in that he not only captures the man’s likeness but also seems to convey an essence of his character.

Other Artwork from Frans Hals

More Baroque Artwork

Scroll to Top