Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
new, dutch, church, Netherlands, god, century
The main subjects of this study, Pieter Vanderlyn, the attributed artist of “A Portrait of Annetje Kool” (c.1740), and Annetje Kool, the sitter, both had subversive identities relative to the sociocultural expectations of New Netherland, a Hudson River Valley based settlement. The oil portrait on canvas depicts a young woman in an elaborate dress with lace and gilt embellishments. To understand this portrait’s historical context, this thesis examines how male and female voices functioned on the margins of the moral boundaries that shaped expectations of gender appropriate thought and action during the colonial, revolutionary, and post-revolutionary eras in New York and Massachusetts. Originally established as a trade outpost for the Dutch West India Company, New Netherland adopted “Dutchness,” an identity that encompassed the religious, cultural, social, political, and economic practices characteristic of the Netherlands and its colonists. With an emphasis on communal worship, the Dutch Reformed Church was indispensable to the cultural unity of New Netherland. However, with a growing multinational community, seizure by the British in 1664, and the rapidly changing sociocultural and religious ideologies of the eighteenth century, Dutchness faded and the church had to modify its dogma over time to compensate for a more multicultural public, and thus, compromised their Dutchness and became Anglicized.
To understand the evolving socio-political ideologies of eighteenth-century Dutch settlement is to evaluate personal accounts of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which reveal tensions between conservatives, those who embraced the traditional European Dutch way, and the progressives, those who chose to develop a civilization independent of immediate Dutch influence. My examination of male voices, such as Peter Stuyvesant (1612-1672), Adrien van der Donck (1612-1672), Pieter Vanderlyn (1687- 1778), Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), and William Linn (1752-1808), reveals that the male public presence was fundamental in articulating both the needs of the society and of the individual. Moreover, the Enlightenment thinkers of the eighteenth century were critical in developing a new sense of personal development in relation to the community.
While the men may have achieved perceived control over their families and the settlement through a public voice in books and sermons, women used their voices to privately articulate their struggles with God, with the public, and with themselves. My analysis of several female authors within their respective historical and cultural contexts seeks to highlight female voices relative to each other and to male discourse. Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672), Abigail Adams (1744-1818), and Hannah Webster Foster (1758- 1840) developed their female voices into a powerful and articulate dialogue of desire and need through their journals, poetry, and prose, creating niches of feminine discourse. Although two used pseudonyms, the majority of these women were published postmortem, which furthers the assertion that female voices were simultaneously saved and suppressed by men.
My examination of sociocultural expectations, transgressive voices, and voices unheard is significant in offering and understanding the identities of Pieter Vanderlyn and Annetje Kool (1713-1789). Vanderlyn’s portrayal of Annetje Kool highlights the complexity of both artist and muse as transitional figures within a burgeoning nation-to-be, as he offers her a voice through his paintbrush.
Hollander, Abigail, "Voices Trapped within the Portrait: Annetje Kool Pieter Vanderlyn and the Expectations Regarding Gender in Public and Private Spheres in a Burgeoning Nation" (2016). Honors Theses. 235.