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A group portrait of five iconic female professors who have had a major impact on the Faculty of Humanities has been unveiled in the central hall of the Bushuis. With this painting, made by the artist Rogier Willems, the Faculty aims to show that it is no longer, nor wants to be, a male-dominated environment.

Photo: Bob Bronshoff

De Staalmeesteressen

The following iconic female Humanities scholars are portrayed on the 1.80 x 2.0 m painting (from left to right):

  • Mieke Bal, Professor of Theory of Literature;
  • Anne van Grevenstein, Professor of Practice of Conservation and Restoration;
  • Aafke Hulk, Professor of French Linguistics and dean of the FGw between 2003 and 2008;
  • José van Dijck, Professor of Comparative Media Studies (until 2016) and dean of the FGw between 2008 and 2011;
  • Marita Mathijsen, professor of Modern Dutch Literature.

Fred Weerman, dean of the Faculty of Humanities: ‘There are portraits of a large number of male professors hanging up in our buildings. You only ever a see a woman between them sporadically and that is no longer in proportion: last year, five of the six professors appointed at our Faculty were women. Up until now, the female role models have been missing from the walls – not only from earlier times, but also from now.’

The group portrait, which is already referred to as De Staalmeesteressen in the corridors (a female play on Rembrandt’s De Staalmeesters, often translated as ‘The Sampling Officials of the Amsterdam Drapers’ Guild’), also marks how academia has changed according to the dean. ‘Whether you are talking about teaching or research, academic achievements are increasingly team achievements. The group portrait is also, therefore, a reference to the approach to the pursuit of scholarship within our Faculty.’

Unveiling on Thursday 9 May

The painting was officially unveiled on Thursday 9 May by the President of the Executive Board, Geert ten Dam and Rector Magnificus Karen Maex, in the presence of the artist and the female subjects of the portrait. The painting is visible to the public in the Bushuis, Kloveniersburgwal 48 in Amsterdam.

Bushuis/Oost-Indisch Huis
Bushuis/Oost-Indisch Huis

Kloveniersburgwal 48
1012 CX Amsterdam