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YOUNG MAN HOLDING A SKULL

This painting has often been thought to represent Shakespeare’s Hamlet – in the death of Yorrick. My reading of this portrait at the time was the youthful charm and vitality of the young boy; then I remember a saying an elderly woman said to me when I was young “You can’t flog the youth”…..yes I was young and she was old a reminder it comes to one and all in the end.

by FRANS HALS  1582-1666

Frans Hals was born in Antwerp, although his family settled in Haarlem in the Netherlands. The first documented reference to Hals occurs in 1610 becoming a member of the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke. The 1630s were Hal’s most successful years. By then he was in constant demand both for single portraits and family groups. He was commissioned to paint three large militia pieces. Hals success continued until the end of his life but most of his life he lived in poverty. His most recognisable portraits are “The Laughing Cavalier” 1624 and the “Boy with a Flute” 1623.