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This lecture explores how depictions of women reading, writing, and receiving letters in seventeenth-century Dutch genre paintings may be understood as expressions of modernity. These contemporary scenes of "everyday life," though imagined and often idealized, engaged with social and cultural ideas about women's education, literacy, and learning in the Dutch Republic. Focusing on the exceptional group of paintings by Gabriel Metsu, Frans van Mieris, and Gerrit Dou presented in the exhibition Exchanging Words: Women and Letters in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting, this lecture takes a closure look at these captivating images and the ways in which artists depicted women as active participants in their intellectual lives.
Speaker: Lara Yeager-Crasselt, Curator, The Leiden Collection