1624 c/o Nichole Ortiz

Peaceful Ruler from the Bowl

The Laughing Cavalier (1624) is a famous painting by the Dutch Golden age and Baroque artist Frans Hals. The top right of the portrait is inscribed with "Æ'TA SVÆ 26/A°1624" in Latin, meaning the portrait was painted when the sitter was 26, and in the year 1624. The identity of the man is unknown.

Haarlem The Neterlands, 1624

His face was as red as the wine in his glass. Lord Fritz Van Der Komp was a chatty young fellow and quite animated. He had not sat still the entire time I painted him. He told many amazing and outrageous stories and would continually get up to roam the room grabbing objects and telling of how he acquired each of them from his travels. Yet he never took his eyes off me, as if to make sure I was caught on his every word but still working for my pay. I, in turn, felt frustrated and on several occasions politely asked for him to sit, but he continued to perform.

He had requested that I paint him at his home, which is unheard of, for my sitters always travel to me, but Lord Fritz Van Der Komp insisted I travel to him, and I now see why. He loved to put on a show. His home was his stage, his possessions were his props, and I was his audience, there to capture every moment.

"More wine, dear sir Hals!" the young Lord roared as he clumsily filled my glass then dropped heavily back into his chair smacking together his wine-stained lips and twisting the ends of his mustache.

He was a boisterous presence, dressed in the finest silk and lace, which impressed me very much. Conveying the beauty of these fabrics was no challenge to me, it was his face, his personality that became a struggle. In fact it was proving quite difficult to capture his status and nobility when he behaved like nothing more than a drunken fool.

"Thank you, Lord." I said as I lifted my glass and took a sip. I dipped my brush once again and gazed at the space on my canvas where the Lord’s face should be. If I were to paint what I really saw, I'm sure the Lord would not approve the next morning after the wine had worn off.

"This has taken quite longer than I imagined, Sir Hals." The Lord slurred, pushing back his large black hat that had fallen over his brow.

"I perhaps am enchanting you so much with my tales that you can not concentrate on your work? Please do tell me if I am too much." He laughed loudly, hiccupped, then quickly covered his mouth, unknowingly spilling a bit of wine from his overflowing glass onto the beautiful rug at his feet. If you wish to know more about how he came across such a lovely rug, I'm certain he would love to tell you the fascinating tale, just as he told me...

I needed to capture that proud nobleman who was hidden under his flustered, drunken features. So I chose my words wisely. "You are most intriguing, my Lord!" I said honestly.

Lord Fritz Van Der Komp placed his glass on the table beside him with a pleased expression. He was ready to let me speak, as long as the subject was about him.

"Your fascinating life and your majesty… Well, if only all the people of Haarlem could be so lucky as I to be in your beautiful home and hear your fantastic tales. I wish for all to experience the wonder you've shown me this day. I wish to capture that for all to see!"

I watched him as I spoke and almost laughed out loud at the expression growing on his face. His chest raised as he breathed deep and a slight grin (No! An arrogant smirk!) moved across his lips. I could not be sure, but I swear he gave me a coy wink. His blotchy face lifted and at once he sat straight and proud. That’s it! If only I thought to boost his ego sooner, I would have been done hours ago.