The biography of Pieter Aertsen (1508 - 1575)

Pieter Aertsen (b. 1508-09, Amsterdam, d. 1575, Amsterdam), called "Long Peter" because of his height, was a Dutch historical painter. He was born and died in Amsterdam, and painted there and in Antwerp. He became a citizen of Antwerp in 1542 where he resided until around 1556. Aertsen links the Dutch and the Flemish schools. In such a manner, Aertsen was also a Netherlandish painter active in his native Amsterdam and in Antwerp. Aertsen was the head of a long dynasty of painters, of whom the most talented was his nephew and pupil Joachim Beuckelaer. His sons, Pieter Pietersz and Aert Pieterz, also became painters.

As a youth, he apprenticed with Allaert Claesz. He distinguished himself by painting domestic scenes in which he reproduced articles of furniture, cooking utensils, and so on, with marvelous fidelity. Later in life, he began documenting historical scenes. Several of his best works, including altarpieces in various churches, were destroyed in the Netherland's religious wars.

His career can be traced between 1543 and 1571 with a series of signed and dated artworks. Today he is considered as important as Bruegel among 16th century painting: a powerful and monumental artist, using splendid and frank tones. His depictions of food, flowers, and everyday objects make him important in the development of the Flemish still-life painting with such realism and surcharge of details. An excellent specimen of his style is a painting of the Crucifixion.