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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Caterina Van Hemessen

b. 1528, Antwerp; d. after 1587, Antwerp (?)

Caterina (Catharina) van Hemessen, a Flemish painter trained by her father, married the organist of Antwerp Cathedral in 1554. Two years later, the couple entered the service of an admirer of van Hemessen’s work, Mary of Hungary, former regent of the Netherlands who had retired to her court in Spain. Mary died in 1558; her will stipulated that van Hemessen and her husband receive pensions for life. Only ten works by the artist survive today; primarily small portraits, they date between 1548 and 1552.