978-0-521-49875-3 / 0521498759

Paragons of Virtue: Women and Domesticity in 17th Century Dutch Art

by Franits, Wayne E.

Publisher:Cambridge University Press



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About the book:

Paragons of Virtue is the first systematic analysis of domestic paintings, which were among the most popular and endearing images produced by Dutch artists during the Golden Century. Focusing on their broader function and significance within Dutch culture, this study has made extensive use of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century family treatises that are important sources for understanding these paintings. These hortatory texts are significant, because they reflect contemporary attitudes towards women as they are paradigmatically presented as maidens, housewives skilled in the administration of household affairs, as attentive mothers, and as pious widows. In short, family literature corroborates the existence of general ideals as well as specific ideas about women and domesticity as expressed through art. Through its rich source material and the paintings themselves, Paragons of Virtue sheds further light on the position of women in seventeenth-century Dutch society and on the critical role that art played in early modern Europe in espousing and maintaining the patriarchal status quo.

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