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.