Frans Hals: The Laughing Cavalier (1624)

(The Wallace Collection, London, UK)

This magnificent portrait is probably the most unique in all of Hals’s male portraits. Were the men in his other portraits are clothed in simple black cloths, this man has a flamboyant costume (cavalier-style clothing). He has a richly embroidered slashed doublet, wide reticella lace collar (a so-called 'falling ruff') and cuffs with a broad brimmed hat. His cape is wrapped around his middle. The gilded pommel of his rapier is just visible at the crook of his left elbow. The identity of the man is not known, but the name of Tieleman Roosterman as the sitter, a wealthy Harlem textile merchant, was recently proposed. An inscription on the painting shows that the sitter is 26 years old. The smile and the swaggering pose of his left hand on the hip gives the sitter an aura of self-confidence. this painting is from 1624.

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