Attributed to Aert Pietersz.: Portrait of Pieter Dircksz (1583)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

A painting by the Dutch artist Aert Pietersz. (1540/1560-1612). The man on this painting is Pieter Dirckszoon (1528-1606), nicknamed 'longbeard'. Pieter orginally was a shipwright but his long beard (2,5 meters or 8ft 2.4inches !) made him a curiosity. He travelled
around the country so people could see him in exchange for money which he donated to the orphanage of Edam - the town were he lived. In 1583 he managed to collect about 200 guilders (about an avarage year salary in that time) with the shows. Pieter doubled this amount with his own private savings and donated the total sum again to the orphanage of Edam. The citycouncil of Edam had this portrait made to honor the generous donor. Pieter was elected master of the orphanage of Edam (Dutch = Weesmeester) several times after that. Painting from 1583.