Judith Leycester: All About The Dutch Golden Era Female Painter



A name that marked itself in the famed art gallery of the Peruvian city of Paris called the Louvre Gallery. Now you must be wondering who Judith Leycester is and how esteemed was Judith Leycester as an artist to have her works displayed in the Louvre gallery of iconic paintings by famous painters of time. 

So, without further ado, let us explain to you all about this still-life painting by female artist Judith Leycester and how she contributed as a female painter. 

What Is Judith Leycester & Her Work? 

Judith Leycester Early Life 

Judith Leycester is a 16th-century female painter better known for her artistic works on still-life painting types. Born in the Dutch republic of Harlem in the year 1609, Judith Leycester was born and bred in the era of Dutch Golden Age, the period that is regarded as the Dutch booming period in which throughout the European region Dutch talent in education and arts and other spheres made a strong mark in history that made the Dutch region forever stored in history and forever referred as the Golden period Hence, that age of Dutch advancements also produced a talented painter like Judith Leycester who went on to mark her name in the Dutch history as well and around the world in the progressing arts field. 

Judith Leycester was an inspiring young woman, daughter of Jan Willemz Leyster, it is most often speculated that Judith Leycester began as a painter to survive the financial situation of her family after her father’s bankruptcy. Well, difficult situations shape strong personalities hence, Judith Leycester attended workshops of esteemed painters to practice the art of painting and establish a firm hand in the growing field of arts. In the period around the 1620s. 

After that in the 1620s began the journey of an artisan who will make her stroke of artistic style in history forever. Read on to know about Judith Leycester’s work life.

Judith Leycester Dutch Painter Work Life 

Judith Leycester’s first piece of art recognised is from the year 1629 where her distinctive sign on her works of painting was found by her initials signed J and L with a shouting star symbolizing Judith Leycester’s family name meaning an aspiring star. 

Judith Leicester’s painting sign itself is enough o recognise her works as its sign of her initials can be found on her works and this, later on, helped in many of the recognition of her work while discovering the art pieces from the 16th-century Dutch artwork. 

Judith Leycester went on to join as the first few female artists in the esteemed Harlem Guild of St. Luke, which was an association of the artists and merchants of that time of course there were added privileges of being a member of the Harlem Guild for Judith Leycester. Being in the guild of artists meant that Juidth Leycester could sell her painting work throughout the cities as a recognised artist. 

There is also a painting art piece by Judith Leycester known as Self Portrait in 1633 is attributed as Leicester’s self-portrait work submitted to the Guild for admittance as a painter. This self-portrait work of Hudith Leycester also showed a new style of art sense as it portrayed a more relaxed version of female posture compared to the older versions where a self-portrait of a female figure was shown in a rigid and formal position always in the Dutch art of the 16th century. 

In 2 years after joining the Harlem Guild, Judith Leycester also took on 3 apprentices with herself in the Guild of Harlem in 1933. However, she later got involved in a serious case by the Guild for failing to register one of her apprentices with the Guild before taking him on. This was also a serious time when Judith Leycester also fought a lawsuit with Frans Hals for one of her student’s admission without Guild’s permission. 

This gave route to the whole Huldith Leycester and Frans Hals linking in arts which we will later on in the article give you details about. Judith Leycester got famous after this lawsuit and her artwork was now in 1930’s recognised more in the list of Dutch famed painter’s works. 

Judith Leycester’s painting work called The Happy Couple 1930 is a more famous one which is exhibited in the Louvre gallery in Paris. But, it’s not the only recognised work of Judith Leycester from the 16th century, there’s the “Portrait Of A Man”, “A Game Of Cards”, and amongst many other the kids painting, a recognised one called “Young Flute Player”. 

Like any classic artist, Judith Leycester also has a distinctive style she preferred to paint in her works. Often her paintings are recognised with the portrayal of domestic scenes of women doing domestic chores peacefully or a band of men like Leicester’s painting of “Merry Trio (the 1930s)” and “The Concert” and more often Judith Leyster painted children with objects or animals like can be seen in one of her work called “A Boy and A Girl With A Cat and An Eel”.

Her Paintings depict the liked art style of the Dutch region at that time and most of her work dawns a similarity to her painter husband’s work of that time too. 

Where Are Judith Leyster’s Paintings Now? 

Judith Leyster tied the knot of marriage in the year 1636 with a fellow Dutch painter, Jan Miense Molanaer who was more prominent and also worked on a similar style of paintings. This was a time when Judith Leyster’s major works began to slow down even though Leyster and her husband shared a painting studio in their own space as they settled in Amsterdam. 

However, the majority of her works found are attributed to be from the period of her pre-wedding in the early 1930s. Although it is also confirmed that Judith Leyster worked on paintings in collaboration with her husband due to the same esteemed position and style of painting. 

Sadly, after Judith Leyster died in 1660 at the age of just 50, many of Leyster’s paintings remained a mystery as the ages passed by. Most of her paintings that did get recognised were due to her distinctive sign that she drew as J and L of her initials with a symbolic shooting star to showcase her family name of Lyester’s Dutch meaning “The North Star ”. 

There have been times when many of her paintings were attributed to Frans Hals who was also a fellow Dutch painter who had a similar style as Judith Leyster. However, due to Leyster’s Sign on her painting works, some of them were recognised to be falsely portrayed as Hals even though they are of Judith Leyster. 

Her paintings that were discovered are now not only exhibited in the Louvre gallery but also the art museum like the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam, The Frans Hals Museum, and The National Gallery, in London, UK amongst others prominently. 

Judith Leyster’s work was often throughout her time, approximately 200 years, remaining missing or attributed to other artists like Frans Hals and her husband. This led to Judith Leyster’s painting not being recognised for decades. However, thanks to advancements in classic art style and the art field’s expansion that Judith Leyster was truly recognised and her esteemed works of paintings got the recognition they deserved. 

Last Word 

We hope the above details about Judith Leyster and this Dutch Golden Era period painter inspired you and gave you all the information you need!

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