Judith Leyster (also: Leijster) was born in 1609 into the family of
a Haarlem brewer. She was one of the very few women to be accepted as a
member to the Haarlem Lukas Guild of Painters. Although she was highly
esteemed by her contemporaries, she remained unknown for a long time and
her works were either believed lost, or were attributed to Frans
Hals. Judith is believed to be Hals’ pupil, she worked in his
studio in Haarlem in about 1630; at that period she tried to follow his
style. She was definitely a friend of Hals’ family, because in 1631 she
became godmother to Hals’ daughter Maria. In 1636, Judith married the genre
painter Jan Miense Molenaer.
In her early works, the young Leyster, like Hals, followed the style
of the Utrecht Caravagisti. However, her later portraits and genre scenes
were strongly influenced by the painting of Terbrugghen and Honthorst.
The artist died in Heemstede in 1660.