Frans Hals: The Male Portrait
As part of our ongoing collaboration with the Wallace Collection, we are delighted to present Frans Hals: The Male Portrait. In autumn 2021, the Wallace Collection celebrated Dutch master Frans Hals’ most famous and beloved painting, The Laughing Cavalier, as the centrepiece of their exhibition uniting 13 of the artist’s most renowned male portraits. The exhibition, shown from September 2021 to January 2022, was recreated by Vortic in 3D and is now available to experience – for the first time since the closing of the physical show – as a 3D virtual exhibition on the Vortic platform.
Frans Hals: The Male Portrait gathers a fine selection of Hals’ male portraits from across the five decades of his long career. In so doing, it situates The Laughing Cavalier – the artist’s most famous work, and one of the most beloved pictures in the Wallace Collection – within the context of his radical reinvention of one of the oldest genres of art. Since entering the Wallace Collection in 1865, the iconic image had never previously been hung alongside other works by the artist. Now, using Vortic’s advanced technology, this landmark exhibition can live on in perpetuity, allowing visitors who were unable to visit the exhibition in person the chance to view it for the first time, and those who were lucky enough to visit the exhibition in 2021 to rediscover these stunning works. The exhibition’s head curator, Lelia Packer, explains:
“We were keen to reproduce the space as it was here at the Wallace Collection. The wall colours, the lighting, the atmosphere, the mood – that is something we were eager to be able to recreate digitally, and I think we’ve succeeded. I’m pleased that when you walk through the space digitally you really do feel as if you were in that real space as it was here at the Wallace Collection.”
This show also demonstrates how Vortic’s technology can serve as a powerful and useful tool for archiving exhibitions, maintaining them for future generations and study. Exhibition catalogues are traditionally the predominant record of an exhibition once the doors close and the works return to their usual homes. However, with Vortic’s high-resolution renderings of not only the paintings, but also the frames and the exhibition space itself, additional context and details that are difficult to capture through the exhibition catalogue can be preserved.
For Frans Hals: The Male Portrait, the layout of the portraits within the 3D space of the physical show created a specific and engaging narrative between works. As the centrepiece, The Laughing Cavalier was seated ‘at the head of the table’ within the exhibition space, while the other 12 pictures were positioned across from each other along the gallery in convivial conversation. By placing the viewer amongst this dialogue, the virtual exhibition maintains the connections and contrasts between the works which serve to illustrate the world inhabited by Hals and his subjects and the development of his artistic practice.
Vortic is honoured to have collaborated with London’s iconic Wallace Collection to bring this wonderful exhibition to life once again, allowing viewers to experience an ensemble of works by one of the western world’s most renowned Old Master painters. In this exceptional digital exhibition, visitors will be able to observe the works in detail in a new and exciting way, wherever they are in the world.