Frans Hals (1581-1666) was born and lived almost all his life in Haarlem (Netherlands) where he essentially painted portraits. He was extremely successful and is considered as one of the best portraitists of his age equal to Rembrandt.
This portrait of the poet Samuel Ampzing was probably made about 1635, some time before the death of the sitter whose attitude makes us think that he is alive and looking at us in earnest. It is an oil on brass and measures 16.2 x 12.3 cm.
It was bought at the beginning of the XIXth century by the 2rd Earl Clancarty, British Ambassador to Brussels and was acquired in the XXth by Sir William Cornelius van Horne (1843-1915), American railroads magnate.
In July 2008 it was sold in London by Sotheby's for £ 4.15 million ($ 7.67 million), four times its estimated price, to an English art dealer.