The Laughing Cavalier – Helena works her art appreciation magic again

You won’t spend a better half-hour than this. A masterful elucidation of a masterpiece. And that’s by way of saying: Welcome to Part II of Helena’s art history and art appreciation tour of the Wallace Collection. Today’s painting is Frans Hals’ portrait, The Laughing Cavalier. Usual recommendation: open up the Wallace Collection’s reproduction of the portrait and drink it in while Helena takes you through it, heightens your appreciation and understanding. Here’s the link to the Wallace Collection reproduction.


these garments would have been extremely expensive

think of all

He never takes his eyes off you

His supreme self-confidence and pride

His passion for high style, luxury living

level of detail is unprecedented

the symbols shown in the jacket

doesn’t just give us the intricate pattern

the sumptuous shimmering black doublet

a vision which never fails to capture and captivate

a living person caught in a passing moment

never have I felt so much the living presence of a portrait than when standing in front of The Laughing Cavalier

It’s the most unsettling, unnerving experience

the swift, brusque, disjointed brushwork

the light always comes from the left-hand side

the bravura of his brushwork

it wouldn’t be a flattering portrait but it would be a truthful one

we can make a good stab at assessing his personality

the sitters having a living presence

criticisms of his dissolute lifestyle




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