Portrait of a Couple (c.1622)

Hals, Frans (c.1582-1666)

Portrait of a Couple (Probably Isaac Abrahamsz Massa and Beatrix van der Laen)
Oil on canvas, 140 x 166.5 cm

This happy, smiling pair sits comfortably close to each other. Posing a couple together in this way was highly unusual at the time. It may have been prompted by the sitters’ friendship with the painter and the occasion for the commission – their marriage in April 1622. The painting thus contains references to love and devotion, such as the garden of love at right, and at left an eryngium thistle, known in Dutch as ‘mannentrouw’, or male fidelity. (RIJKS)