|Franz Hals The Merry Drinker From The Art Renewal center|
You can not tell this on a computer screen, but when you see a Frans Hal in real life, as you move away from the painting it becomes more and more into focus. The right hand in this painting would look very realistic if viewed from a distance. Also notice how extraordinarily beautiful the light is. Notice how the shadow moves you around the painting, while the light is spotted in a few areas where Hal wants you to look.
This painting is clearly of someone moving, this merry drinker isn't going to be holding that pose for very long. One gets that feeling of movement not just from the pose, but also from how freely this is painted. Now days that feeling of movement might be shown by the blur of a camera lens or the lines that one sees in cartoons. But this style captures the movement without being gimmicky.
It is that movement that bring this painting alive. This is not a static rendition of a person who has been sitting for a portrait for six weeks. This is a painting that is breathing life, just as its subject is a living breathing person. Through its looseness and movement of shadows this painting lives.
Hals also uses color to breath life into his painting. One can see it the red checks of the subject. There are other Hals paintings where it is more pronounced, but here too the colors in the face breath life into it. It is clear this is a real person and not a mannequin.
Another reason why I don't care for paintings that look too much like photographs is that they often take all the life out a painting. This painting makes me think I could walk into the painting and shake hands with the drinker and he would slap me on the back and invite me to join him at the bar, it is that alive, it looks like he could reach out and grab my arm and say come on in. To me a painting with life says so much more than a painting that is just technically accurate.
Franz Hals breathed life into his painting better than any other artist I know of, that is what makes him great to me.
Coming up I plan to show you how drawing can come alive or be pushed to death. Please check back for that and a lot more.