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Sarah Joan Moran: The right hand of Pictura’s perfection. Cornelis de Bie’s Het gulden cabinet and Antwerp art in the 1660s

In: Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art / Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek Online
In: Religion and the Senses in Early Modern Europe
In: Women and Gender in the Early Modern Low Countries, 1500 - 1750
Women and Gender in the Early Modern Low Countries, 1500-1750 brings together research on women and gender across the Low Countries, a culturally contiguous region that was split by the Eighty Years' War into the Protestant Dutch Republic in the North and the Spanish-controlled, Catholic Hapsburg Netherlands in the South.
The authors of this interdisciplinary volume highlight women’s experiences of social class, as family members, before the law, and as authors, artists, and patrons, as well as the workings of gender in art and literature. In studies ranging from microhistories to surveys, the book reveals the Low Countries as a remarkable historical laboratory for its topic and points to the opportunities the region holds for future scholarly investigations.

Contributors: Martine van Elk, Martha Howell, Martha Moffitt Peacock, Sarah Joan Moran, Amanda Pipkin, Katlijne Van der Stighelen, Margit Thøfner, and Diane Wolfthal.

Abstract

From the thirteenth century through the nineteenth, the Court Beguinages, large semi-monastic communities for women called Beguines, were integral to urban life in the Catholic Low Countries. In the wake of the Dutch Revolt and reestablishment of Spanish rule in the Southern provinces from the mid-1580s, the Beguinages became increasingly aligned with the ideology of female monasticism, and particularly with the tradition of Mary and Martha: the mix of contemplative prayer and humble work that had traditionally been at the heart of tertiary convents and other active female congregations. While many Beguines did indeed make their livings from manual labor, the Beguinages also offered women of ambition unparalleled opportunities to take on leadership roles of great responsibility and authority. This essay examines the labor of Beguinage administration in the early modern period and situates the careers of Beguine leaders in their social and gendered contexts.

In: Journal of Early Modern History