Frans Hals 1581-1666 BACK

Banquet of the Officers of the St George's Civic Guard
oil on canvas 70x104in
Frans Hals Museum

Hals, Banquet of the Officers of the St George's Civic Guard

This portrait is the first major group portrait by Hals and the first monumental civic guard painting in the new era of Dutch painting. These group portraits also serve as historical documents, for which lists were drawn up giving the names and the associations of those in the painting.

Hals, however revolutionized this type of painting. Instead of merely painting a row of portraits, he places them in a specific context by creating a banquet scene. This is not a moment simply captured at a table, but an extremely witty and calculated composition. A scenic context is created between all the figures involved but each figure poses and acts individually and independently of each other. In doing this Hals found a way to portray a large group without showing the difference of rank.

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