Clara peeters

Women artists have been ignored for far too long

At first glance, Clara Peeters’s ‘Still Life with a Vase of Flowers, Goblets and Shells’ (1612) appears to be just that. Carefully arranged on a wooden tabletop, the collected objects are in conversation, the nubby curves of the shells echoing the ribbed neck of the stone vase, their dusky and rosy hues matching the open and squeezed shut buds. But look closer at the gleaming gilt goblet on the right and you’ll notice that the Flemish artist has smuggled tiny self-portraits into the polished roundels – a clever bid to avoid the misattribution of her painting to a man, perhaps, and a form of self-assertion in the male-dominated art world.