Appel à contribution : « Breaking Conventions and Confronting Gender: The Multifaceted Relationship Between Women and Art in the Low Countries, 1500-1800 », Amsterdam, 2-5 juin 2021, date limite le 1er juillet 2020

In preparation of the HNA conference 2-5 June 2021, organized by the University of Amsterdam and the RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History, the program committee invites HNA members to submit proposals for paper sessions. The sessions are posted on the HNA website. Please submit your proposal(s) to the session chair(s), not the program committee. Applicants are allowed to submit multiple proposals to different sessions, but please inform all appropriate chairs about this at the time of application. Participants may present only one paper at the conference. Session chairs are not allowed to present a paper in their own session.

As part of 90 minute-sessions, papers should be max. 20 minutes long. Proposals should present new, rather than published research and reflect the current state of scholarship. Please send proposals of max. 500 words, along with a single-paged curriculum vitae, to the session chair(s). Deadline: 1 July 2020. Applicants will be notified by the session chair(s) no later than 1 August 2020.

Program committee: Stijn Bussels, Leiden University (chair) ; Edwin Buijsen, Mauritshuis ; Suzanne Laemers, RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History ; Judith Noorman, University of Amsterdam ; Gabri van Tussenbroek, University of Amsterdam / City of Amsterdam Abbie Vandivere, Mauritshuis and University of Amsterdam.

Organizers: Samantha Chang, University of Toronto ( ; Catherine Powell, University of Texas at Austin/Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society ( ; Lauryn Smith, Case Western Reserve University / Cleveland Museum of Art (

Jan van Eyck, Margareta van Eyck, 1439. Huile sur bois, 41,2 × 34,6 cm. Bruges, Groeningemuseum.

“DO: dress modestly and act piously; obey your husband in everything; rear your children. DON’T: be too sweet or too sour or too thin or too fat; be too independent; growl or bark at your husband.”

Does the advice encouraged by Jacob Cats and depicted in numerous well-known objects accurately represent the normative behaviour of early modern women in the Low Countries? This session explores the less commonly portrayed―and much less discussed―representation of women as artists, collectors, and agents of cultural and artisticchange. Recent exhibitions and publications (for example Sarah Joan Moran and Amanda Pipkin’s Women and Gender in the Early Modern Low Countries, 1500–1750 and Elizabeth Sutton’s Women Artists and Patrons in the Netherlands, 1500–1700, both from 2019) raise and address the participation of mostly ‘exceptional’ women artists and aristocratic andnoblewomen in the creation and patronage of art. Notwithstanding these works, however, the field continues to be dominated by a history of men and centres upon patriarchal analyses and methodologies. Instead of reflecting on the exceptional, what can we gather on the paradigmatic women of the Low Countries?

In our session, “Breaking Conventions and Confronting Gender: The Multifaceted Relationship Between Women and Art in the Low Countries, 1500–1800,” we critically examine the role of gender and gender identity in the creation, collection, and curation of art in the broadest sense. How did this multifaceted relationship play out in the development and portrayal of women’s identity and their self-actualization? In what ways did women artists subvert societal norms? What role does gender play in the creation, acquisition, and use of objects? To what extent does gender impact collecting, patronage, and display practices? Can we formulate approaches that further discussions of the role of gender within artistic pursuits?

We seek papers that extend beyond traditional methodologies and analytical frameworks. In particular, we welcome proposals that are interdisciplinary and/or consider unusual or often under-researched artistic media, such as textiles, watercolours, ceramics, ephemeral art, etc. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Identity and self-representation through art;
  • Self-definition as a so-called ‘workshop wife’ and/or the nuanced participation of women in the family’s artistic enterprise;
  • Gender and the art market;
  • Issues of class and accessibility;
  • The artist as collector;
  • Material culture: creation, use, and display;
  • The home as a space for the display and/or performance of art;
  • Strategies of display.


Florence Larcher

Florence Larcher est doctorante en histoire de l'art moderne à l'Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Ses recherches portent sur l'image de saint Roch dans les arts visuels en Europe du XIVe au XVIIe siècle.

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