Woman scouring metal ware
In her short artistic career, Roghman, a contemporary of Rembrandt’s, flourished as one of the few known female printmakers in the Dutch Republic. Born into an artistic milieu, she worked alongside family members in a workshop of reproductive printmaking in Amsterdam.
A Woman Cleaning belongs to Household Tasks, Roghman’s series of five prints depicting contemporary women’s occupations, such as sewing, spinning, and baking. These large engraved domestic scenes were published twice, attesting to the popularity of the subject and the proven reputation of the female artist in the male-determined market. Roghman’s portrayals of domestic life as prosaic and unsentimental set her work apart from genre scenes of the time, and do not invite predictable anecdotal, moralizing, or sexual interpretations.
The subject of this print is turned away from the viewer, fully focused on her task. The tall window behind the worktop casts bright light on the woman’s bent back, as if authorizing her role in the scene. All the movements of her work are, however, projected outside through the window, representing the way domestic life is conducted, controlled, and shared with the public.
figures; households; kitchens; pots; windows; women
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