Do you know Who is Judith Leyster? If not, read here for all the details on it. We will update you with all the details related to this topic. Today’s Google doodle honors Judith Leyster, a painter from the 17th century who played a significant role in the Dutch Golden Age. On this day in 2009, tribute shows were opened at the National Gallery of Art and the Frans Hals Museum.
However, after her death, almost no one remembered Leyster or her work. Despite the fact that it had been widely admired during her lifetime. Much of her work was incorrectly attributed to male artists for decades before she was finally recognized as an artist in the late 19th century.
Who is Judith Leyster?
Judith Jans Leyster was born on July 28, 1609 and died on February 10, 1660 was a genre painter, portraitist and still-life artist active in the Dutch Golden Age. In spite of widespread acclaim for her work at the time of her lifetime, it has since been largely forgotten. Her entire body of work eventually became associated with either Frans Hals or her husband, Jan Miense Molenaer.
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Her works were finally given the credit they deserved after her rediscovery in 1893. The eighth of Jan Willemsz Leyster, a local brewer, Leyster was born in Haarlem. Though her education was a mystery, she was mentioned by contemporary poet and Haarlem resident Samuel Amazing in his book Beschrijvinge ende lof der Stadt Haerlem.
Scholars have theorized that Leyster took up painting as a way to help her family get by after the financial ruin of her father. It is possible that she received her training in painting from Frans Pietersz de Grebber who was in charge of a prestigious workshop in Haarlem during the 1620s. It was around this time that her family relocated to Utrecht province, where she might have met some of the Utrecht Caravaggisti.
She may have been the first woman to register with the Guild, though some claim that 1631’s Sara van Baalbergen holds that distinction. During the 17th century, the Guild of St. Luke may have admitted dozens of other women artists. However, the medium in which they worked was often not listed at the time, artists working in embroidery, pottery, painting, metal and wood were included in guilds or they were included because they continued the work of their deceased husbands.
Some have speculated that Leyster’s Self-Portrait from around 1633 is now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. This piece represents a departure from the stiff, static poses typically seen in earlier female self-portraits. Compared to other Dutch portraits, this one is remarkably casual, drawing comparisons to Frans Hals. Although the wide lace collar is beautiful, it is highly improbable that she wore it while painting in oils.
Leyster had three male apprentices under his tutelage within two years of joining the Guild. According to the documents, Leyster filed a lawsuit against Frans Hals for poaching a student from her workshop without first obtaining approval from the Guild. The mother of the student paid Leyster four guilders in punitive damages or about half of what Leyster had asked for and Hals settled his part of the lawsuit by paying a three guilder fine rather than reclaiming the apprentice.
The Guild fined Leyster personally because she failed to properly register the apprentice. Leyster’s paintings gained popularity after she filed a lawsuit against Frans Hals. Leyster wed her husband, the more prolific artist Jan Miense Molenaer who painted similar subjects, in 1636. To improve their financial situation, the couple relocated to Amsterdam where Molenaer already had established business relationships.
How did Judith Leyster Get Fame?
Her signature is a monogram consisting of the initials JL and a star. Dutch sailors at the time commonly referred to the North Star as “Leister” which literally translates to “Lead star.” Her family owned the Haarlem brewery known as the Leistar. She rarely used her full name when signing her works. There is a lack of citations for this section.
She excelled at portrait-like genre scenes which typically featured one to three cheerful figures set against a simple backdrop. Many of them are young and some of the men are drunk. When it came to the home genre, Leyster really shone. These are intimate domestic settings depicted from a female perspective and they typically involve the use of soft lightings such as candlelight or lamplight.
The Proposition is an outlier among these scenes because contrary to the more typical depiction of a willing prostitute, it allegedly shows a girl receiving unwanted advances. There is disagreement amongst scholars over this interpretation. Her husband Molenaer, the Hals brothers Frans and Dirck, Jan Steen and the Utrecht Caravaggisti Hendrick Terbrugghen and Gerrit van Honthorst were all contemporaries who influenced her work.
They painted genre scenes like those found in taverns and other entertainment venues to appeal to the expanding Dutch middle class. David with the head of Goliath (1633), her only known history painting is in the same style as her typical portraits with a single figure placed prominently in the foreground of the composition. There is a lack of citations for this section.
Theodore Schrevel, a Dutch observer made the following observation in 1648: “There also have been many experienced women in the field of painting who are still renowned in our time and who could compete with men.” One of them, Judith Leyster, has been heralded as the true Leading star in art due to her exceptional talent.
Judith Leyster Best Paintings
Judith Leyster was a major figure in the Dutch Golden Age but has been largely forgotten by art historians. Her informal, technically proficient and masterful genre scenes paved the way for modern conventions. In particular, her casual optimistic photographs of joyful musicians and rowdy crowds became her trademark.
She was well-off monetarily and held in high regard by her contemporaries, but her legacy was pushed to the background for centuries due to errors in attribution and neglect until more recent scholarship focused on underappreciated female artists.
Jolly Topper 1629:
Only two paintings by Leyster are known to exist and this is one of them. Here we see a jovial guy with rosy cheeks holding up his empty beer jug. He’s dressed in a long, greenish-blue tunic and his beret looks like it might slide off any second. A small pipe and some individually wrapped tobacco sit on the table in front of him.
Art historian Cynthia Kortenhorst-Von Bogendorf Rupprath tells us that the Utrecht Carravaggisiti were responsible for making this subject matter popular and that by the 1620s, it was being painted frequently in Haarlem. The obvious pleasure the subject took in smoking and drinking could have been interpreted as a commentary on the benefits and perils of living life to the fullest.
Subtle moralizing messages on the fleeting nature of life and its indulgences were common in many paintings from this era. Leyster’s awareness of and interest in putting her own spin on contemporary painting trends is on full display in this reworking of a familiar theme.
The painting’s subject seems happy despite the underlying theme of vice. The sitter’s face, rendered in painstaking detail, conveys a sense of individuality and personality that acknowledges his enjoyment of his evening or afternoon and predicts that he has not had his last drink.
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The Carousing Couple 1630:
The couple in this painting, also titled The Jolly Companions, are shown enjoying a drink and some music together. The man sits back in his chair, legs crossed and hold a violin in his hands as if he were about to play. He wears a wide black hat and a large white ruff. Behind him, his friend has an open beer jug and is about to take a swig from her glass.
Leyster, like the Jolly Toper captures a moment of joy and infuses it with vivacious life. Especially intriguing is the young woman’s expression; her cheeks are red and she’s sending a half-smile in the direction of her friend while gazing at him lovingly or perhaps rather lasciviously.
Self Portrait 1630:
This powerful image of Leyster portrays her as a woman who is confident in her identity and the direction of her professional life. She steps out from behind her canvas where she has been working on a painting of a young, happy violinist. She looks at us as if we’ve interrupted her, but she’s actually quite friendly. The details demonstrate her expertise: she is holding a palette with her thumb looped through it and eighteen brushes in her left hand.
Her right hand holds a single brush ready to make its mark. She’s decked out in a formal ruff and expensive dress, neither of which she was likely wearing while she painted in reality but which nonetheless attest to her social and economic standing.
A Boy and a Girl With a Cat and Eel 1635:
Leyster portrays two mischievous kids, one boy and one girl, in this painting. The boy is carrying a white eel in one arm and a small cat in the crook of his elbow. The little girl smiles and points at us as she pulls on the cat’s tail.
She appears to be trying to tell us something. The cat has an expression of displeasure and its claws are exposed, but the young boy and girl appear confident and unconcerned.
Young Flute Player 1635:
Leyster captures a tender scene of a young boy playing the flute in solitude. As if he’s lost in thought or the entrancing music, he gazes upward and out of the frame. His finger positions on the keyboard reveal a musician at one with his instrument. Leyster’s inclusion of a violin and a recorder, awkwardly displayed against the otherwise stark interior is a peculiar compositional choice.
The boy is sitting in an unusual way, leaning back against a broken chair. The boy’s pensive expression alludes to the ethereal quality of music which is similar to the aesthetic appeal of visual art.
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