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23 March 2015
Last week on the Post we had William Roberts, who is extraordinary and is certainly neglected. But hey, he was a man. And although several of ‘our’ writers are men, really the Post should be celebrating subjects as close as possible to our central remit: neglected fiction by (mostly) women writers. So this week a neglected woman artist, although one from centuries and centuries ago – Catharina van Hemessen (1528 – after 1587) was the earliest female Flemish painter for whom there is verifiable extant work, and is known for a series of small scale female portraits completed between the late 1540s and early 1550s. This self-portrait 1548 (when she was apparently only 20) ‘may be the first self-portrait of an artist at work at the easel, regardless of gender (Wikipedia). What a touching and memorable painting: the perspective of her torso slightly wonky, the beautiful red velvet sleeve – and her expression. She painted this more than four and a half centuries ago but we feel we know and understand her.
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