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Female Glass Engravers in the Early Modern Dutch Republic

  • Martine van Elk (a1)


This essay explores glass engravings by Dutch authors Anna Roemers Visscher, Maria Tesselschade Roemers Visscher, and Anna Maria van Schurman. I place these engravings in their rich contemporary contexts, comparing them to other art forms that were the product of female pastime. Like embroidery, emblems, and alba amicorum, engraved glasses combined text and image, transforming each glass into an object that fulfilled key social and cultural functions. Above all, engraving glasses allowed women to forge new self-representations, specifically through their use of play to question binary oppositions and moral certainties.

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Venturing into interdisciplinary analysis is impossible without support. My thanks go to Lia van Gemert for her encouragement and to the RSA for organizing its annual conference, at which I first presented some of my readings of these glasses and by which I continue to be inspired. I would also like to express my gratitude to the two anonymous readers for RQ for wonderfully helpful comments on this essay.



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Female Glass Engravers in the Early Modern Dutch Republic

  • Martine van Elk (a1)


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