Aersens, Peter

, called by the Italians PietroLongo, from his tallness, was a celebrated painter, and born at Amsterdam in 1519. His father, who was a stocking-maker, had intended to train him in his own way; but-the mother, finding in him an inclination towards painting, was resolved that her son should pursue his genius, even though she always were forced to spin for her livelihood: and to this her husband at length consented. His first master was Alart Claessen, an eminent painter in Amsterdam, under whom he so distinguished himself, that he soon engaged the attention of the great. When he was about eighteen, he went to Bossu in Hainault, to view the pieces of several masters; thence to Antwerp, where he married and entered into the company of painters. He excelled very particularly in representing a kitchen; and generally, upon all kinds of subjects. An altar-piece of his, viz. a crucifix, setting forth an executioner breaking with an iron bar the legs of the thieves, &c. was much admired. This noble piece was destroyed by the rabble in the time of the insurrection, 1566, although the lady of Sonneveldt, in Alckmaer, offered 200 crowns for its redemption, as the furious peasants were bringing it out of the church: but they tore it to pieces, and trod it under foot. This he afterwards complained of to the populace in terms of such severity, that more than once they were going to murder him. Pilkington, however, speaks of a fine altar-piece of his at Amsterdam, representing the death of the Virgin, as still | existing; and of a Nativity and the Wise Men’s Offering at Delft, both excellent performances. He was well skilled in perspective and architecture, and enriched his grounds with elegant ornaments and animals. His figures were well disposed; their attitudes had abundance of variety, and their draperies were well chosen and well cast. He died in 1585, leaving three sons, who succeeded in his profession. He had a mean aspect, which he did not amend by any attention to the exterior; for he always appeared very meanly dressed. 1