Frans Hals

Portrait of Jacob Olycan (1596-1638)

459 voorzijde
459 detail
459 achterzijde
459 ingelijst
459 voorzijde
459 voorzijde

Frans Hals
Portrait of Jacob Olycan (1596-1638)

1625 On view in Room 9

Jacob Olycan was a rich Haarlem brewer. When he married Aletta Hanemans, the couple had their portrait painted by the best portrait painter in town: Frans Hals. He made two paintings – the groom on the left and the bride on the right, completely in line with the convention of the day.

Olycan, aged 29, is looking at us, hand on hip, from above and radiating pride and self-confidence. He is wearing a stylish shiny black outfit and a magnificent collar of white lace that are painted with great accuracy.

Technical details

Facelifts & Make-overs - stories from our conservation studio

Frans Hals painted these two life-sized portraits in 1625: a year after the marriage of Aletta Hanemans and Jacob Olycan. Almost 400 years later, the condition of the paintings left much to be desired. There were painted coats of arms behind the man and woman, but during the restoration these turned out not to be original. A blue pigment had been used in Jacob’s coat of arms: Prussian blue, which did not even exist before 1700. The bright colours used for the coats of arms did not correspond with Frans Hals’s use of colour in any way. They were probably added in the 19th century when the portraits were still in this couple’s family. After much deliberation, it was decided to cover the coats of arms with the background colour. This restores the original three-dimensional effect and directs all the attention to the sitters, as Hals intended. The paint added by the conservators is easy to remove should future generations have a different opinion.

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More about Frans Hals

Frans Hals is one of the most famous and most extraordinary Dutch painters of the 17th century. He painted lively, sometimes even cheerful, portraits of people from all levels of society: important people, naughty children and even drunks or people who had been declared crazy. Hals had a unique ability to bring his paintings to life with colour and broad brushstrokes. His skilful style inspired the French impressionists, who made many copies of his paintings in the 19th century.

618 voorzijde
459 voorzijde

Frans Hals
Portrait of Jacob Olycan (1596-1638)

1625 On view in Room 9

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Details

General information
Frans Hals (Antwerp 1582/1583 - 1666 Haarlem)
Portrait of Jacob Olycan (1596-1638)
1625
painting
459
Room 9
Material and technical details
oil
canvas
97.5 x 124.8 cm
Inscriptions
rechtsboven: ÆTAT SVÆ. 29 / Ao 1625

Provenance

Aletta van Loo, Olycan's widow, Haarlem, 1638-1653; by inheritance to the Van Sypesteyn family, Haarlem, 1877; Victor de Stuers, The Hague, 1880; sold by him to the Dutch government, 1881; placed in the Mauritshuis, 1881