Hals specialized as a portraitist. His paintings are boldy conceived, the touch expressive and distinctive. Posed casually, the sitter addresses us directly, encouraging us to respond in kind. Hals transforms the man’s sober, respectable costume into a demonstration of his own talent, the brush strokes evoking more than they describe. Everything calls attention to the painter’s skill and implies his clients welcomed such panache. When rediscovered in the 19th century, the artist’s sheer bravura was widely admired.