Hive Mind: Networks, collectivity, and mentorship amongst women artists, patrons, and collectors in the Low Countries in the early modern period.

01 October 2021 → 30 September 2024
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Development of methods and techniques
    • Early modern history
    • History of art
    • Visual cultures
    • Painting and drawing
Early modern women and female agency hybrid digital and analog humanities women and their networks and communities and the private/public dichotomy
Project description

The project will explore the relationships amongst the women artists, collectors, and patrons in the circle proximate to the still-life painter Rachel Ruysch (1664–1750) and examine their roles in that network. In doing so, the project will uncover, for example, the various ways in which the women influenced each other, helped each other develop technically, and shared resources. Relying upon an innovative methodology and an analytical framework that combine traditional art historical practices with digital network analysis, the focus will be on the community and institutional perspectives of art-making and collecting. The objectives of the project are: (1) to recover the contributions to the arts and culture made by the women in the proximate circle of Rachel Ruysch; (2) to understand how female agency, collectivity, and mentorship manifested themselves within that circle and helped overcome or circumvent the barriers the women experienced due to their gender; (3) to fundamentally modify the historiography of early modern art history in the Low Countries; and (4) to explore innovative ways to write art history by focusing on collaboration, communities, and institutions. Importantly, the project aims to offer an innovative and reproducible analytical framework and methodology to explore the contributions of women and other marginalized actors in the art world, across time periods and geographical boundaries.