|Belonges to Portrait of Aletta Hanemans (1606-1653)
In the first half of the 17th century Frans Hals was the best portrait painter of Haarlem and perhaps of the whole of Holland. His strength lay in his ability to portray people in a lively manner, as is apparent from these portraits of a man and a woman, whom he endowed with a proud, self-assured air.
The family arms and the inscriptions allow us to identify the couple. The man is Jacob Olycan (29 years old), a beer brewer who held a number of public offices, including burgomaster of Haarlem and delegate to the States General, the government of the Dutch Republic. The woman is Aletta Hanemans (19 years old), whom Olycan married in 1624. The portraits were probably made to commemorate their marriage. The affluence of these Haarlem burghers is evident from their large lace collars and costly clothing of gleaming black satin and gold brocade.
The primary aim of this kind of formal portrait was to provide a good likeness of the sitter. Here Hals used a fairly precise manner of painting, but by this time he had also mastered a much looser style, like that seen in the Laughing boy.