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The Cover
October 25, 2000

A Young Man in a Large Hat

Author Affiliations
 

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2000;284(16):2025. doi:10.1001/jama.284.16.2025

We do not know the identity of the sitter in A Young Man in a Large Hat (cover ) but that hardly affects our pleasure in the painting: we are looking at what is unmistakably the genius of Frans Hals (c 1582/1583-1666). As for the grinning young man, whoever he is, he could not be more satisfied with himself. In his very large hat, his fine lace collar, and high-buttoned jacket, he has been watching the passing world for nearly four centuries from the security of his oaken panel. And of course he is pleased, for just beneath the healthy flush of his cheeks, as yet so faint as to be easily mistaken for a slip of the painter's brush, is the young man's announcement that he has indeed come of age: boldly, shyly, he sports an incipient mustache; still as scraggy as the lank blond hair, nonetheless it holds promise. But whereas it is the mustache that prompts the boy's sly look, not so the viewer: it is without a doubt the hat, outlandish and several sizes too large. Indeed, is this a picture of a boy wearing a hat or is it a picture of a large hat wearing a boy?

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