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Gender and Self-Fashioning at the Intersection of Art and Science

Agnes Block, Botany, and Networks in the Dutch 17th Century

302 pages
Amsterdam University Press
At once collector, botanist, reader, artist, and patron, Agnes Block is best described as a cultural producer. A member of an influential network in her lifetime, today she remains a largely obscure figure. The socioeconomic and political barriers faced by early modern women, together with a male-dominated tradition in art history, have meant that too few stories of women’s roles in the creation, production, and consumption of art have reached us. This book seeks to write Block and her contributions into the art and cultural history of the seventeenth-century Netherlands, highlighting the need for and advantages of a multifaceted approach to research on early modern women. Examining Block’s achievements, relationships, and objects reveals a woman who was independent, knowledgeable, self-aware, and not above self-promotion. Though her gender brought few opportunities and many barriers, Agnes Block succeeded in fashioning herself as Flora Batava, a liefhebber at the intersection of art and science.
Author Bio
Dr. Catherine Powell-Warren is a postdoctoral research fellow in art history at Ghent University. Her research focuses on the role of early modern women of the Low Countries in the creation, production, and consumption of art and culture, with a special interest in networks and concepts of collaboration and community.