Women Artists of the Dutch Golden Age

Courtesy of washington.org

By Angela Hickey 

Women Artists of the Dutch Golden Age is an exhibit in the National Museum of Women in the Arts which displays a collection of critically-acclaimed works from several highly successful female artists who were very active during the time of Ducth Golden Age. These talented women, including Judith Leyster, Maria Sibylla Merian, Maria Moninckx, Magdalena van de Passe, Clara Peeters, Rachel Ruysch, Maria Schalcken, Anna Maria van Schurman, and Alida Withoos, were especially active during the 17th and early 18th centuries. 

The Dutch Golden Age was a time of great advancement and creation for the people of the Netherlands. Many of their creations, including their art, became critically acclaimed all across the globe. And now, you can get a taste of that creativity right here in D.C.

Drawn mostly from pieces already housed in the museum, this exhibit was also made possible due to several generous loans like rare books that were donated which testify to the international talent of these innovative artists.

During the time of the Golden Age, becoming an artist was highly respected and well acclaimed profession which was even recognized as a family business, for men, and for women. 

“While women faced more obstacles than their male counterparts did, this exhibition reveals that women of this era not only succeeded but also excelled as artists, pushing the boundaries of what was possible in art and in life,” according to washington.org

The women recognized in this exhibit are well known not only for their beautiful art, but they also for revealing the intricacies behind becoming an artist. These women show that being an artist is not as clear-cut and exact as some people may think. Some of these women’s talents were cultivating through the training that they received from their fathers or brothers, while others trained through apprenticing with independent craftsmen, and some were even taught by other talented women artists. 

These women had difficult lifestyles as most struggled to find a balance between their art careers and their home life, some even having to create successful careers while also having children. But, despite these difficulties, their art still captivates audiences today and shows what life in the Golden Age was like. When displayed together, these pieces reveal a variety of styles and genres that these women specialized in during that time. 

In their art, these women reveal their lives in relation with history and how it was living in a period of economic growth and prosperity. They revealed how, with hard work and dedication to the craft, anyone can become a talented artist, even those who weren’t very well known or who many people didn’t expect much from. 

This exhibit, which opened on October 11th, is on display on the ground floor of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. It will be open from 10 am to 5 pm and tickets are available for purchase on the museums website. But be quick, the exhibit will only be around until January 5th, 2020. 

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