Frans Hals Paints Pieter van den Broecke

In this portrait there is a perfect match of a painter's style to the sitter.

Hals's bold, direct manner is ideally suited to portrayal of the Antwerp-born colonial trader Pieter van den Broecke (1585-1640) who lived in Haarlem. He was first active as a merchant in West Africa and subsequently served the Dutch East India Company in Java, Arabia, Persia and India. In 1630 he brought back to the Netherlands an important fleet from India and was rewarded by the Dutch East India Company for his seventeen years of service with a gold chain worth 1200 guilders. It is this chain which he proudly wears in the portrait.

Pieter van den Broecke (1585, Antwerp - 1640, Strait of Malacca) was a Dutch cloth merchant in the service of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), and one of the first Dutchmen to taste coffee. He also went to Angola three times. He was one of the first Europeans to describe societies in West and Central Africa and in detail trade strategies along the African coast.