Frans Hals: Portrait of a couple, probably Isaac Abrahamsz. Massa and his wife Beatrix van der Laen (1622)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands)

This is a somewhat unusual portrait for its period. It was not common for a couple to be painted together. More common were 2 seperate paintings. The 2 persons on the painting are probably Isaac Abrahamsz. Massa, merchant in Haarlem, and his wife Beatrix van der Laen. The two were married on 25 april 1622 and this painting was probably made to celebrate this. Frans Hals had a good relation with the couple which really shows on the painting. Isaac and Beatrix are sitting comfortably and are portraited while having a good time. The garden on the right and the eryngium thistle on the left, known in Dutch as ‘mannentrouw’, or male fidelity are symbols of love and devotion. Painting from 1622.

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