Judith Leyster: Self-Portrait (1630)

(National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., USA)

Judith Leyster is one of the few female 17th century Dutch painters. She was born in 1609 in Haarlem and became a member of the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke (the artist guild). She was the first in the West to be registered as a master-painter which allowed her to have a workshop and to have apprentices. She married in 1636 with Jan Miense Molenaer, also a painter, and together they shared their studio. Judith died in 1659 the age of 50. Judith painted genre works, portraits, and still lifes. This self-portrait shows her at the age of about 21 and was perhaps her presentation piece to the Guild of St. Luke. This painting is from around 1630.