Tuesday, 20 May 2014


The famous Dutch painter Judith Leyster lived in Haarlem in the Dutch Golden Age, the 17th century. She became the first female ‘Master painter’ and had, like her colleague Frans Hals, a studio and students. To my surprise I once found myself in tears in front of the original oil painting of her self-portrait, hanging in the Frans Hals Museum, in the picturesque ancient street Klein Heiligland in Haarlem. Since I ‘discovered’ her during my art education in the early eighties, I always loved her work. It radiates self-confidence and “joie de vivre”. She inspires me four centuries later. 

Next to her famous oil portraits, she painted tulips, lots of tulips on paper. Her tulip books became very popular and became the first visual catalogues for tulip traders during the ‘Tulpomania’ and its speculation that hit the Netherlands and made the bourse crash in 1635.
Haarlem still lies in the middle of a tulip area. I have great memories of living in that town at the river Spaarne during several episodes of my live. Think of the Netherlands and many people automatically think of tulips, so the famous Keukenhof flower show made ‘Holland’ their theme this year. 

Amidst all flowers I have photographed, tulips have their own unique place, as I always loved them. I created this image to honour the tulip and Judith Leyster.

© text and photo: Adriana sjan Bijman

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