A Mons artist in Antwerp
Well forgotten for over four centuries, the work of Michaelina Wautier is currently part of a first retrospective seeing huge success in Antwerp. Her work is being exhibited at the MAS (Museum aan de Stroom). Tribute to her phenomenal career.
Two iconic museums in the city of Antwerp came together for a one-of-a-kind collaboration: the first retrospective dedicated to the painter from Mons, Michaelina Wautier (1617-1689). The Rubens House and the MAS actually spearheaded this original exhibition presenting the exceptional talent of this artist little-known to the general public. The artist was met with criticism, however, at a time when women were only "good at painting flowers". Yet, she painted portraits of men, of powerful men, and even if nothing can confirm it to this day, it would have been the jealousy of male artists that would have erased memories of her and caused the boycott.
As the MAS has pointed out, every time period had a glass ceiling, and trying to make a name as artist in the 17th century as a woman was nearly impossible. It would be four centuries later that we see the work of Michaelina Wautier brought to light. We know roughly thirty of her works, all demonstrating a theme that was daring for the time and an astonishing technique, even if the latter remains poorly documented. Michaelina Wautier is known for the diversity of themes covered in her works, ranging from portraits and genre pieces to large-scale historical pieces. She dealt with everything, the opposite sex but also religious and mythological themes, all while observing everyday reality and mastering the genres of her time.
Michaelina Wautier is thus an artist unique in the diversity of her talent. Her work is so varied and unique that she has managed to call into question existing categories in art history to this day.
The exhibition "Michaelina Wautier, Baroque's Leading Lady" runs until 2 September at the MAS in Antwerp. More info...