Jan Salomonsz de Bray: The Regents of the Leper-, Plague- and Madhouse in Haarlem (1667)

 (Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, Netherlands)

This painting shows the regents (the board of directors) of the leper- plague- and madhouse in Haarlem (the so-called 'dolhuys').  Buildings like these existed in a lot of towns in order to keep the sick out of the cities. The one in Haarlem had an especially important place because it had the privilege since 1413 to test lepers from all over the provinces Holland and Zeeland and grant them a vuilbrief, or document certifying their status as leper. With this document the leper was allowed to beg. This is also depicted in the painting. The servant (in Dutch he is called a 'voorspreker') in the back brings a young leper to the regents who give him a vuilbrief. The names of the regents are: Dirk Geesteranus (1628-?), Johannes van de Leye (?-?) and Maarten Vermeulen (1638-1663). Painting from 1667.

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