TITLE

The Whore, the Bawd, and the Artist: The Reality and Imagery of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Prostitution

AUTHOR(S)
van de Pol, Lotte C.
PUB. DATE
June 2010
SOURCE
Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art;Jun2010, Vol. 2 Issue 1/2, p1
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article focuses on the relationship between visual constructions of prostitution and seventeenth-century actuality. Although the Protestant Dutch Republic criminalized prostitution, it still flourished, above all, in the port city of Amsterdam. Drawing on a multitude of observations from the criminal records, the essay lays out the main characteristics of this trade, including descriptions of the behavior and the appearance of both the bawds who operated as "peddlers of vice" and the prostitutes in their thrall. These real-life women stand in contrast to the attractive and luxuriously clad whores and the old and ugly procuresses in the bordello paintings. Ultimately, both painted types owe a greater debt to visual traditions and cultural views of women than to the historical record. In the paintings (and in prints) women are depicted as seducers and men as fools, the forbidden sexuality they portray being implicitly blamed on the women, who are understood as being inspired by the devil.
ACCESSION #
76437732

 

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