Judith Leyster aims to be the first woman to enter the Haarlem painter's guild, at the time of such greats as Rembrandt and Frans Hals. But a woman’s ambition is an unwanted commodity in 17th century Holland, and Judith struggles to earn the respect and funds to open her own workshop.
Meanwhile Judith’s closest friend, Maria, is a Catholic in a country where that faith is banned, and she plans to absolve her sins by recovering a lost saint’s relic. Both women’s destinies will be shaped by not only their ambitions, but those of the city’s most powerful men, whose plans spell disaster for Judith. But Judith has always fought to make her own way...
A vivid portrayal of a remarkable artist and her era, A Light of Her Own is a rich, well-researched story of an ambitious woman who fulfilled her name by becoming a true “leading star.”
Self portrait by Judith Leyster
The original painting hangs in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
Carrie is a senior editor with the Washington Independent Review of Books. Find her reviews and interviews here.