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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Judith Leyster

b. 1609, Haarlem, The Netherlands; d. 1660, Heemstede, The Netherlands

Judith Leyster gained entrance to the Haarlem Guild of Saint Luke in 1633, making her one of only two women master painters of that era. Influenced by the work of the Utrecht Caravaggisti and of Frans Hals, in whose workshop she may have been employed, Leyster specialized in intimate nocturnal genre scenes dramatically illuminated by a single source of light. Although well known during her lifetime and esteemed by her contemporaries, by the nineteenth century Leyster was considered a mere follower of Hals. In 1892, the reattribution of a painting in the Louvre’s collection from Hals to Leyster spurred a reassessment of her oeuvre and recuperated her as a significant artist in the Dutch canon.