Michaelina Wautier – The Belgian artist on the Google homepage as Doodle
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the Belgian artist Michaelina Wautier, born 415 years prior. Albeit a large number of Michaelina’s paintings were once misattributed to different artists, including her very own sibling, she’s currently known as “Baroque’s leading lady.”
On this day a year ago, the conclusive monograph on Wautier’s work was published by two institutions in Antwerp—Rubenshuis and Museum aan de Stroom—who likewise teamed up to showcase the first-ever Wautier review, an exhibition of some 30 works that shed new light on “mysterious Michaelina.” Contemporaries of Flemish masters like Rubens and Van Dyck, Michaelina and her more youthful sibling Charles Wautier grew up in a wealthy family, moving around 1640 from their birthplace of Mons to Brussels, where they lived in a stately townhouse close to the Kappellekerk. Neither one of the siblings wedded, giving themselves to painting.
While inquiring about her sibling, art historian Pierre-Yves Kairis found Michaelina’s work, struck by her mastery of portraiture, historical paintings, and genre pieces during when female painters were, as he put it, “at best tolerated for painting flowers.” During her lifetime, she impressed prominent patrons like Archduke Leopold-Willem, who gathered four of her paintings.
Her enormous scale work The Triumph of Bacchus, widely thought about her masterpiece, offers a look at the artist’s personality. Michaelina Wautier painted herself into the scene, camouflaged as a half-naked bacchante, gazing strongly at the watcher without apology.