Frans Hals was one of those painters who managed to give a new meaning to the pictorial genre of the portrait, adapting not only to the requests of his clients, but also knew how to capture their psychology like no other in a sober environment and with few details. Competing with the likes of Rembrandt and Vermeer, Hals has gone down in history as one of the great painters of the Dutch Golden Age.
Very few reliable data are preserved about the painter's life, a fact that has brought many legends around him. Experts shuffle that Hals must have been born around the year 1582 or 1583 and must have been trained in Karel Van Mander's workshop. His fame came without a doubt, with the portraits of the famous Dutch companies that were nothing other than the well-known guilds; however, the artist managed to grant them a new type of portrait where the figures acquired a certain movement, reaping innumerable successes.
The work that we analyze here belongs to the second stage of Hals's creation, between 1630 and 1633, when the artist already had great recognition and the great portraits of the companies The Dutch gave way to more personalized commissions in which the artist tries to capture the psychology of the character represented.
On this occasion, we find ourselves before the portrait of Cornelia Claesdr, the wife of Nicolaes Van der Meer whomHals had already represented in 1616 in his canvas The Officers' Banquet. Nicolaes held the position of burgomaster at the time and his prominent social position is clearly seen in the portrait of his wife. We find ourselves before a painting made in oil on canvas in a vertical format that measures about one hundred and twenty-six centimeters in height and about one hundred in width.
The lady appears seated in a three-quarter position and placed slightly diagonally in order to enhance the depth of the work against a neutral background. She appears dressed in a sober black suit and a brown leather overcoat. Special attention deserves the white details of the lace sleeves and the starched collar in which the artist demonstrates his skill in capturing the quality of the materials and the detail of his work. On her head, she appears dressed in the typical cap that was very popular at the time.
Her face turns to stare at the viewer betraying a cunning and intelligent lady, who is not intimidated but also in whom generosity and compassion have a place