Anna Maria van Schurman is readily considered the most highly educated western woman of the 17th century. She questioned the role that women should play in Dutch society, and advocated for female education.
Who was Anna von Schumann?
Anna von Schurman lived in the Netherlands in the 17th century and advocated for the rights of women. She was actually the first woman to attend a university in the Netherlands (in the early 17th century) and she worked primarily as an artist. She worked in paint, engraving, calligraphy, and cut paper.
The needlepoint in her runner represents "traditional" roles of women and is presented as a contrast to her actual pursuits. It does however, include a quote from van Schurman herself.
This seems to be the only place setting that has words on it. I like what it says about things being equal in opportunity for man and woman but portrays the disadvantages that women specifically have been suffering with since like forever. Does this quote generalize a feel for what Judy Chicago’s project is about?
In a way it does encapsulate the themes of The Dinner Party as a whole: women being given the same consideration as men, both throughout history and in the art world.
The quote actually comes from a book Anna Van Schurman wrote arguing for the right of women to be educated.
Thank you so much!
My grandma wants to know why there are so many seeds in Anna van Schurman's plate.
The seed imagery in the center of the plate and in the illumination aren't clearly addressed by Chicago! However, she has discussed the Tree of Life and plants as symbols of regeneration, so perhaps the seeds are connected to this theme. Seeds could also be seen as symbols of knowledge (van Schurman was the first woman to graduate from the University of Utrecht) and of fertility.
Most of the information we have on the plate refers to abstracted butterfly forms. The runner is meant to reference young girls' samplers, representing how girls were forced to "think small" during this period.
I know Chicago says the styles of embroidery reflect the woman’s epoch but I wonder if there is more in depth info available about Anna van Schurman's runner?
As you've said, the different techniques relate to the different time periods and women represented. You might be most interested in Anna van Schurman's runner. which is embroidered in a style common in the 17th-century, based on the way young girls made tiny stitch samplers that were meant to teach them docility, obedience, and other "ideals" of womanhood.
Is the quote on Anna Van Schurman's place setting her own? "Woman has the same wish for self-development...."
It is! It comes from a book she wrote arguing that women also had a right to be educated.
It is rendered here in cross-stitching as a reference to the kinds of activities that were expected of women and girls instead.
That's beautiful, it makes so much sense.