The Haarlem painter Frans Hals (1582/83–1666) was one of the most important artists of the Dutch Golden Age.
Hals was trained by Karel van Mander (1548–1606), known mainly as the author of Het Schilder-Boeck (‘The Book on Painting’) of 1604. In this book he described two ways to paint: ‘neat’ and ‘rough’, a smooth, detailed style of painting as opposed to broad, loose brushwork. Van Mander warned his readers that the ‘rough’ technique was reserved forthe greatest masters.
It was this style which the exceptionally talented Hals mastered with apparent effortlessness and, thanks to his unerring hand and keen eye, employed to unsurpassed effect.