Netherlands • 1609−1660

Biography and information

Born in the family of a tailor and brewer. In 1633 was admitted to the Guild of St. Luke — the Union of artists of Haarlem. In 1636 she married the painter Molinara, moved to Amsterdam. Gave birth to five children. The majority of her work relates to 1629-1635.

Author of portraits, still-lifes, works of genre painting, which was influenced by Frans Hals (there are suggestions that Leicester was a student of his) and karavadzhistov Utrecht school (G. van Honthorst, H. Terbruggen). Became the first woman in the ranks of the members of the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke. Several of her paintings depict women in household employment that was new to painting 1620-1630-ies.

From 1629 Leicester was to attend the workshop Hals in Haarlem, in 1633 the artist is married to Y. M. Molinara, genre painter, also a pupil of Hals. All this contributed to the fact that Judith lijster became an ardent follower of Hals. However, in her biography there are facts that left a definite imprint on the formation of her tastes.


Before to get into the Studio of Hals, Leicester hosted the first training workshop Utrecht caravaggisti (his name is unknown, but most likely, it was Henrik Terbruggen). In fact, the Utrecht caravaggisti was a whole group of painters who studied in Italy, classical art, became followers of the Italian caravaggism. They were opposed to the elevated and distant from the life of academic principles and advocated an appeal to everyday reality, to the mundane everyday life of ordinary people. One of the characteristics of the Utrecht caravaggism, and caravaggism in General, had a keen interest in the issue of light and its transmission in the picture. Love black and white effects gave karavadzhistov paintings of great vitality, full of trepidation, the atmosphere of the real environment. Caravaggisti deliberately violated the established academism border between the viewer and the art. Very often, their models appeal directly to one who contemplates a picture, smile at him, gesticulating. Is formed in direct contact with the audience.


All this Judith lijster learned from karavadzhistov. Particularly characteristic of her artistic temperament was the love of effects of light and shadow. But stories of karavadzhistov, sometimes crude and frivolous, her work has acquired a special femininity and the softness and the contrasts of light and shade—the smoothness and refinement.


Early work Leister, performed in Utrecht, fully meet the picturesque principles of karavadzhistov. Known for her semi-figured image of Heraclitus and Democritus (collected Dugteren in Arnhem), written in the spirit of X. Terbryuggena. But this, in fact, the fascination with caravaggism ends, although in this form or another the artist all his life gave him tribute. With the move to Harlem is changing not only the brushwork Leicester, but all of her destiny as an artist.


At the end of 20-ies — 30-ies she wrote several works, which testify to the deep penetration of brushwork of Frans Hals, her passion. Leicester produces the same portraits-genres, and a great teacher. Such, for example, her "Cheerful drunks" from the collections of the Berlin gallery, which depicts a typical middle class bourgeoisie of Harlem at the time. These pictures, in which there is not the slightest element of didactics, but only a sincere statement of fact, were designed to hang, of course, Breakfast or dining room, as if inviting the audience to follow the example of their heroes.


Judith lijster so remarkable learned the picturesque features Halilovskogo letters with his broad, bold stroke that to this day some of the works of the artist belong to the brush of the great master. And generally, Leicester is a phenomenon of quite a different scale than the Hals. She is just a talented imitator, skillfully developing the ideas of others. Dutch art of the time was richly such masters. They were called "small Dutch".


In some of his works Leicester demonstrates independence from Halilovskogo influence. Her "Lotniska"is an example of how the artist creates his own image. Only sharp black and white modeling indicates caravaggisti trends in her work.


Shortly after their marriage Leicester moved to Amsterdam. Here comes another turning point in her work. The artist leaves holesovsky manner. Few works of this time talking about the influence of Vermeer, although she is still drawn to the portrait genre. Black and white effects in its gorgeous palette, flatten, disappear gradually, turning into a subtle game of different light and colour. However, the period of fascination Vermeersch light elements short. We know the later works of Judith Leister. It is possible that in the last years of her life, she left for one reason or another painting. Therefore, for the history of art it was above all a loyal follower of Frans Hals.