As today, in post-Renaissance Northern Europe, and particularly in what is now the Netherlands, social position, wealth, and class determined one's dress. In addition to fine fabrics imported from foreign ports, hand-sewn lace was a perceived indicator of high economic and social status, the 1%. Because lace was fragile, expensive, and pristine white, it required frequent and careful laundering and bleaching, which necessitated numerous servants, always women.
During this period and following the Reformation, painters could no longer depend on the church to support their craft. They then turned to wealthy patrons, the new mercantile 1%, for their livelihood. Often living in precarious positions, these artists offered their services to paint portraits of members of the patron class, who sat in their costumed finery to have their likenesses memorialized.
In these portraits based on paintings from that time, I hope to rectify and alter this arbitrary portrayal of one's worth. Everyone, even members of the 98%, the marginalized and the 'other', deserves the honor of memorializing and recognition.