"I would give high marks to the book's design and illustrations, as the simple, easy to navigate layout and excellent color illustrations are a hallmark of Amsterdam University Press publications." -- Dennis E. Weller in Sehepunkte. Rezenzions Journal fur die Geisteswissenschaften.
|"Frans Hals's extraordinary brushwork has long been celebrated even if its cultural implications have only been partially understood at best. Atkins's probing study explores the specific ways in which the painter's brushwork functioned for his contemporaries, and simultaneously, for himself, both as a marker of his skill and of the commercial value of his work. Future studies of Hals, and, indeed, of facture in seventeenth-century Dutch painting will have to take into account Atkins's many findings." -- Wayne Franits, Professor of Art History at Syracuse University
|"Atkins’s book fundamentally changes our thinking about Frans Hals. Atkins argues, absolutely convincingly, that Hals developed a ‘signature style’, a kind of virtuoso brushwork that both enlivened his portraits and distinguished his works from those of his contemporaries. Through sensitive close looking and cogent analysis, Atkins brings to light Hals’s manner of finishing his paintings with ‘the master’s touch’, by adding, as the final strokes of paint, finishing flourishes that activated both picture surface and sitter." -- Perry Chapman, professor of art history, University of Delaware
| "Chistopher Atkins is er in geslaagd een nieuwe en zeer overtuigende duiding te brengen van de zo specifieke "vrije" schilderstijl van Frans Hals." -- Hans Vlieghe is Emeritus Gewoon Hoogleraar aan de Katholieke Universiteit Leuven en auteur van talrijke publicaties in boek- en artikelvorm over de Vlaamse schilderkunst van de 17de eeuw, o. m. over Rubens en zijn school.
|"The Signatures Style of Frans Hals brings together many insights from different angles, to cast a new, original light on the features of Frans Hals’s style." -- Frans Grijzenhout, Chair of Art History of the Early Modern Period, University of Amsterdam
This richly illustrated study is the first consider the manifold functions and meanings of Hals’s distinctive handling of paint. Atkins explores the uniqueness of Hals’s approach to painting and the relationship of his manner to seventeenth-century aesthetics. He also investigates the economic motivations and advantages of his methods, the operation of the style as a personal and workshop brand, and the apparent modernity of the artist’s style. The book seeks to understand the multiple levels on which Hals’s consciously cultivated manner of painting operated for himself, his pupils and assistants, his clients, and succeeding generations of viewers. As a result, the book offers a wholly new understanding of one of the leading artists of the Dutch Golden Age, and one of the most formative painters in the history of art in the Western tradition. It also provides a much needed interrogation of the interrelationships of subjectivity, style, authorship, methods of artistic and commercial production, economic consumption, and art theory in early modernity.
Christopher D.M. Atkins is assistant professor of art history at Queens College and The Graduate Center at the City University of New York.