Bust of Piet Heyn, attributed to Hendrik de Keyser (II), 1636
Piet Heyn became a seaman at a young age. When he was fifteen years old, he was taken prisoner by the Spanish and made to serve two years as a galley slave. After his release, Heyn pursued a career in the merchant marine: he held high-ranking positions in the Dutch West India Company. In 1628 he captured a Spanish treasure fleet (known as the ‘Silver Fleet’) off the coast of Cuba. A year later he perished at sea.