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ID number:  BIRBI-38.6
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Hals, Frans (1581/5-1666)
Title / Object name:  Portrait of a man holding a skull
Object type:  Painting
Place made:  Haarlem
Culture:  Dutch
Date made:  1610/14
Materials:  Oil on wood
Measurements:  94 x 72.5 cm
Provenance:  See 'Miscellaneous' section below for full details. Cornelius de Young, Lord of Ellemeet; Lord Patrick Elibank, 1778; Patrick Murray; Hon. Mrs Yves, Halstead; Messrs. Sulley & Co., London; Ayerst H. Buttery; Horace A. Buttery; purchased from H. A. Buttery in 1938 for £6,500.

This portrait was painted as a pair with the image of the man’s wife appearing to the right. The man has not been identified, in spite of the coat of arms, but the inscription records that he was 60 years old. The double portrait celebrates the couple’s wealth and status, but the skull and the inscription ‘ITA MORI’ indicate a broader truth. Worldly possessions cannot hide the fact that we are doomed to ‘To Perish Thus’, from living flesh and blood to whitened bones.

Inscriptions / Translations:  Inscribed u.r.: ITA MORI/AETAT SUAE 60

Notes:  Exhibited: 'Dutch Art', Royal Academy, London, UK, 1929, no. 116; 'Frans Hals', Gemeentelijk Museum, Haarlem, Netherlands, 1937, no. 7; 'Seventeenth Century Art in Europe', Royal Academy, London, UK, 1938; 'Dutch Pictures 1450-1750', Royal Academy, London, UK, 1952, no. 68; Edinburgh Festival, UK, 1954; 'Frans Hals', Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem, Netherlands, 16 June 1962- 30 September 1962, no. 1; 'Frans Hals', Royal Academy, London, UK, 13 January 1990 - 08 April 1990, no. 2; Dawn of the Golden Age: Northern Netherlandish Art, 1580-1620', Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 10 December 1993 - 06 March 1994, no. 272; 'Birth of a Collection: Masterpieces from the Barber Institute of Fine Arts', National Gallery, London, UK, 22 May 2013 - 01 September 2013; 'Frans Hals: the Male Portrait', Wallace Collection, 22 September 2021 - 30 January 2022 (Cat. pp.2-4)

1 Related People

Hals, Frans

2 Related Publications

Frans Hals

Royal Academy, London
Frans Hals
Slive, S.

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