Continuing on with my exploration of female artists, I decided to go with a Flemish painter from the 16th century. Although I saw a bunch of work by French artists including a few women, at the Modern Woman: Daughters and Lovers 1850 — 1918 | Drawings from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris exhibition over the weekend, I did a random search on Flemish artists and came across Caterina van Hemessen. As soon as I saw her mentioned in my Women Artists book (see link below) I looked her up.
Born around 1528 in Antwerp, it is believed that she probably studied under her father, a well known Flemish painter Jan Sanders van Hemessen. Queen Mary of Hungary, Regent of the Low Countries was her patron, supporting her during and after her reign, even offering her and her husband to travel with her to Spain when she abdicated as Queen of Hungary. Most of the paintings that can be attributed to her are of women, but there are at least two known religious pieces. It’s not known whether she continued to paint after she married in 1554 as no known works can be dated past this period. She died in 1587.
Women Artists: An Illustrated History, by Nancy G. Heller, Abbeville Press, 1991