Portrait of a Woman Standing (Kassel) (1618-1620) by Frans Hals

Portrait of an unknown woman - Frans Hals - 1618-1620

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of an unknown woman
ArtistFrans Hals
MediumOil on Panel
Dimensions103 cm × 82.5 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationGemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Kassel), Kassel

About Portrait of an unknown woman

The artwork titled “Portrait of an unknown woman” is an exquisite example of Baroque portraiture by the Dutch artist Frans Hals, created around the years 1618-1620. This oil on panel piece measures 103 cm by 82.5 cm and represents the portrait genre within the Baroque movement. The artwork itself is housed at the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Kassel) in Kassel.

The artwork features a woman positioned against a neutral background, which serves to accentuate the subject and her attire. The artist has depicted the woman at nearly life-size, with her body slightly turned and her gaze directed towards the viewer, creating an engaging and direct interaction. She is adorned in clothing typical of the high society of the 17th century, with a richly-embroidered dress featuring gold thread and intricate patterns, a testament to Hals’ attention to detail and skill in rendering textures. Her lace collar and cuffs are rendered with high precision, and her facial expression is serene, yet there’s a hint of vitality that is characteristic of Hals’ portraits.

The unknown woman’s dark dress is complemented by a stark, wide, white lace collar, which frames her face and was a fashionable element of the period’s attire. The artist has carefully captured the interplay of light and shadow, and how they define the folds of her garments, as well as the soft luminescence on her skin. The sober palette, with its emphasis on earth tones and the judicious use of gold highlights, exemplifies the aesthetic values of the Baroque era, where realism and grandeur often went hand in hand.

Overall, the portrait is a testament to Frans Hals’ masterful technique, his ability to convey wealth and social status through clothing and jewelry, and his unique capacity to imbue a static image with a sense of the subject’s personality and presence.

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