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In Heroines, Harpies, and Housewives, Martha Moffitt Peacock provides a novel interpretive approach to the artistic practice of Imaging Women of Consequence in the Dutch Golden Age. From the beginnings of the new Republic, visual celebrations of famous heroines who crossed gender boundaries by fighting in the Revolt against Spain or by distinguishing themselves in arts and letters became an essential and significant cultural tradition that reverberated throughout the long seventeenth century. This collective memory of consequential heroines who equaled, or outshone, men is frequently reflected in empowering representations of other female archetypes: authoritative harpies and noble housewives. Such enabling imagery helped in the structuring of gender norms that positively advanced a powerful female identity in Dutch society.
In: Women and Gender in the Early Modern Low Countries, 1500-1750