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Janet M. Torpy, MD
JAMA. 2008;300(22):2584. doi:10.1001/jama.300.22.2584.
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In her Self-portrait (cover), Judith Leyster (1609-1660) reveals her identity, her sense of place in the world as a prosperous, productive woman of the Dutch Golden Age. Her pretty and robust countenance beams with serenity and self-possession. Her life had started inconspicuously, the eighth of nine children of Jan Willemsz, a textile worker turned brewer, and Trijn Jaspers, a weaver. Her father adopted the surname Leyster as early as 1603; the brewery also assumed that name when he bought it in 1618. By 1627, only 3 years after her family declared bankruptcy and was forced to move from Haarlem, Judith Leyster had emerged as a recognized entity in the Dutch art world.

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Judith Leyster (1609-1660), Self-portrait, circa 1630, Dutch. Oil on canvas. 74.6 × 65.1 cm. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art (http://www.nga.gov/), Washington, DC. Gift of Mr and Mrs Robert Woods Bliss, 1949.6.1.



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