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“Self-Portrait” by Catharina van Hemessen

"Self-Portrait" by Catharina van Hemessen

“Self-Portrait” by Catharina van Hemessen

“Self-Portrait” by Catharina van Hemessen depicts the artist when she was 20 years old. It is considered the first self-portrait of any artist depicted working at an easel.

Her father, Jan Sanders van Hemessen was a painter in Antwerp and her teacher. This portrait, created in 1548, shows the artist in the early stages of painting a portrait.

She was a successful painter, and her paintings can be found at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the National Gallery, London, and the Kunstmuseum Basel.

Her paintings have a quiet dignity to them and tend to be small with plain dark backgrounds that provide no sense of location or space.

Catharina van Hemessen

Catharina van Hemessen (1528 – 1587) was a Flemish Renaissance painter. She is the earliest female Flemish painter for whom there are verifiable surviving artworks.

She is known for a series of small scale female portraits completed between the late 1540s and early 1550s and a few religious compositions.

“Self-Portrait” by Catharina van Hemessen

  • Title:                     Self-Portrait
  • Artist:                   Catharina van Hemessen
  • Year:                     1548
  • Medium:               tempera on oak panel
  • Dimensions:         Height: 32 cm (12.5 in); Width: 25 cm (9.8 in)
  • Museum:              Kunstmuseum Basel

Women in the Arts


“Every artist was first an amateur.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson


Photo Credit: 1) Gerrit Dou / Public domain via Wikimedia Commons; Barent Fabritius / Public domain; François Boucher / Public domain; Rembrandt / Public domain; Adriaen van Ostade / Public domain; Catharina van Hemessen / Public domain

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