Portraiture Reflection

The above picture shows a young black woman from an artwork called “Portrait of a Black Young Woman with Lace Cap and Matching Collar” by Wenceslaus Hollar. The portraiture was drawn in a traditional way that lacked the theatric effect addressed by Hanneke Grootenboer. The woman being portrayed is like a “puppet” who is positioned to not expose herself. (Pg. 326, Grootenboer) There is little the audience can infer about the interiority and story of the figure depicted as she is tightly covered in cloth from head to body. This suggests that either the artist or the women being depicted, or both do not want the audience to have a glance at the self of this woman. The background is also plain, which may serve to highlight the figure. With the portraiture revealing so little, viewers can hardly have an opinion about the women.

However, the woman’s cloth does reveal certain features about her and make audiences wonder about her background. As seen on the portraiture of women in Mariet Westermann’s book, the fabric and white lace trim worn by the woman implies that she might come from a good background. Her position also suggests that this piece of art may be a part of the family portraitures of husband and wife. According to Westermann, the wife is usually positioned to face left while her portraiture being hanging on the right. With her calm and non-active posture, the young woman is acting according to her gender role and conforming to the social atmosphere of her time period.


Portret van een zwarte jonge vrouw met kanten hoofdkapje en bijpassende kraag, Wenceslaus Hollar, 1645 https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/my/collections/1909585–phillip-troutman/africana-subjects-prints/objecten#/RP-P-OB-11.591,21


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s