The merry drinker, Hals

The merry drinker, Hals
The merry drinker, Hals

Despite being considered one of the great artists of the Dutch Golden Age and one of the best portrait painters of all time even today, the figure of Franz Hals is considered to be an unknown quantity in many aspects of their life; in fact, until a few years Hals was thought of as a libertine painter who spent his days among brushes and wine orgies a rather distorted image as a result of the latest investigations regarding him that tell us about an artist who actively participated in the militia of San Jorge to defend the city, president of the painters' guild etc.


Be that as it may and despite his personal and financial problems in his last years, the artist has been one of the most influential portraitists in the history of painting and painters of the stature of Courbet or Manet put his work in courage when it seemed already plunged into oblivion.

On this occasion we are going to analyze a painting that dates from between 1627 and 1627 and that is currently exhibited in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, it is The Merry Drinker, an oil on canvas in a vertical format and small dimensions – It measures about eighty centimeters wide and sixty centimeters high. The piece is a representation of the typical individual portrait that Hals liked so much.

It is a single character around which the rest of the composition revolves and that the artist has made with an invoice loaded withrapid painting and brushstrokes, but without losing an iota of the sitter's psychology. It is about a mature and bearded man located in the center of the canvas who stands slightly diagonally and turns towards the viewer to greet him with one hand while with the other, he offers us a glass of wine that seems to come out of the canvas in a trompe l'oeil effect. The man wears a wide-brimmed black hat that contrasts with the earthy tones that dominate the canvas, a white shirt with lace collars where Hals shows us his attention to detail, and a yellowish jacket that is tied with a belt whose buckle shows an effigy that experts have identified with the Prince of Orange.

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