‘Exchanging Words: Women and Letters in Seventeenth-Century’ at the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego

21 September 2022 — 31 December 2022
#old-masters #visual-art

Timken Museum of Art presents the exhibition ‘Exchanging Words: Women and Letters in Seventeenth-Century’

September 21–December 31, 2022. Free Entrance.

The exhibition ‘Exchanging Words: Women and Letters in Seventeenth-Century‘ opens at the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego on Wednesday, September 21. Women and letters feature prominently in Dutch genre paintings from the second half of the seventeenth century. Captivating images show women reading, writing, and receiving letters, often in the company of books, and exchanging ideas with present or absent companions. These works  invite curiosity and contemplation, drawing the beholder into intimate, domestic spaces. Such scenes emphasize women’s engagement with the written word and demonstrate a remarkable interest in representing their intellectual lives.

For this exhibition, the Timken Museum collaborated with The Leiden Collection in New York. This collection has one of the most prestigious works of seventeenth-century Dutch art in private hands. Thomas S. Kaplan and his wife, Daphne Recanati Kaplan, have assembled more than 250 paintings and drawings over the past 17 years by many of the finest artists from the Dutch Golden Age. Named after Rembrandt van Rijn’s native city, The Leiden Collection has extraordinary depth and breadth in paintings by Leiden artists, ranging from significant paintings by Rembrandt and Jan Lievens to outstanding works by Gerrit Dou and Frans van Mieris.


Lecture: Making it “Modern”: Representing Women and Letters in Dutch Genre Painting
September 19, 2022. 10 a.m to 11 a.m. SOLD OUT.

This lecture, hosted by Leiden Collection curator Lara Yeager-Crasselt, will take a look at the ways in which artists depicted women as active participants in their intellectual lives.

Gabriel Metsu, Elegant Lady Writing at her Desk, ca. 1662-64, oil on panel, 39.4 x 33.5 cm. Image courtesy of The Leiden Collection, New York.

Lecture: Art in the Evening – Letters in the World of Vermeer
October 16, 2022. 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. TICKETS.

This lecture, by art historian and curator Dr. Arthur K. Wheelock Jr, will examine how Vermeer captured the emotional impact for women of receiving a letter from an absent loved one.

Johannes Vermeer, Woman Reading a Letter before an Open Window from Dresden, Oil on canvas, 83 cm × 64.5 cm (33 in × 25.4 in), Gemäldegalerie, Dresden.