Essay on 16th Century Artist: Caterina van Hemessen

Essay on 16th Century Artist: Caterina van Hemessen

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Caterina van Hemessen was the daughter of the famous Flemish painter Jan Sanders van Hemessen. Despite the obstacles facing women in art (as well as society as a whole) in the Renaissance era, van Hemessen made a successful career and name for herself as a portrait painter. While she produced many widely respected works, she is best known for being one of the first and very few females to successfully pursue a career in art in the 16th century.
Caterina van Hemessen was born around 1528 around the Flemish city of Antwerp in modern day Belgium. She is the earliest female painter of the Northern Renaissance to have work attributed to her. In the Renaissance era, education and training in art were reserved almost exclusively for men. This idea was reinforced by the types of training aspiring artists were subject to in their early years. Potential artists would be required to move in with and learn from an experience professional from a very young age. Additionally, artists in training would be required to extensively study the nude form of the human body, something which was bel...

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