Anonymous: Portrait of Beetke van Rasquert (1520-1530)

(Groninger Museum, Groningen, The Netherlands)

A painting by an anonymous dutch artist. The woman on the painting is Beetke Aylkema van Rasquert (1485-1554) who was the wife of Wigbolt van Ewsum, lord of Middelstum and Nienoord in Leek (1465-1528) - the couple got 8 children. Her husband Wigbolt van Ewsum was a member of the powerful Ewsum family in Groningen who owned large pieces of land in the Northern provinces of the Netherlands. Wigbolt founded the 'borg' (a borg is a type of stronghold or villa) Nienoord in 1524 to win peat in this area. After the death of Wigbolt in 1528 Beetke took over the company of her husband and managed it with an iron fist and without much compassion for other humans but which strenghtend the family of her husband. The ruins on the background with the two Premonstratensian monks are the ruins of the borg Ewsum, the ancestral castle of the van Ewsums, which was destroyed in 1499 during the Guelderian Wars. The coat-of-arms in the corner is that of Beetke. The dog and the ring on the finger of Beetke and a reference to the marital fidelity of Beetke to her husband. The headdress of Beetke is called a Hovetcleet  (in Dutch called a 'sluierkap'). This painting was made in the year 1520-1530, propably after the death of Wigbolt van Ewsum.