Judith Jans Leyster (also Leijster) (c. July 28, 1609– Feb. 10, 1660); Dutch Golden Age painter. Leyster painted genre works, portraits, and still lifes. Her entire oeuvre was attributed to Frans Hals until 1893, when Hofstede de Groot first attributed 7 paintings to her, 6 of which are signed with her distinctive monogram 'JL*'.

Born in Haarlem as the 8th child of Jan Willemsz Leyster, a local brewer and clothmaker. While the details of her training are uncertain, she was already well enough known in 1628 to be mentioned in a Dutch book by Samuel Ampzing titled Beschrijvinge ende lof der stadt Haerlem.

There is some speculation that Leyster pursued a career in painting as a result of her father's bankruptcy and the need to bring in funds for the family. She may have learned painting from Frans Pietersz de Grebber, who was running a respected workshop in Haarlem in the 1620s. During this time her family moved to the province of Utrecht and she may have come in contact with Utrecht Caravaggisti.

Her first known signed work is dated 1629, 4 years before entering the artist's guild....

Her Self Portrait, c. 1633, has been proposed as her presentation piece to the Guild. This self portrait historically marks a shift from the rigidity of earlier women's self portraits in favor of a more relaxed, dynamic pose....

Most of Leyster's dated works are from 1629-35, which coincides with the period before she married and had children. There are few known pieces painted after 1635: two illustrations in a book about tulips from 1643, a portrait from 1652, and a still life from 1654 that was recently discovered in a private collection. Leyster may have worked collaboratively with her husband as well. In 1660 Leyster died aged 50. (

Despite being highly regarded within her own lifetime, it took more than 230 years after Judith Leyster’s death for her to be...
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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