This is an engraved self-portrait by a Dutch woman from 1633. Her name was Anna Maria van Schurman. Very few women were artists in the 17th century, so it's unique. Not only was she a rare female artist, but she engraved a self-portrait, something that would have been printed in multiple and seen by many. She was an intellectual; she argued for the advancement of the education of women.
What I love about this portrait of a remarkable woman is how forthright it is about who she is, or who she wants to be in the eyes of the world. It's so confident. And it just speaks to me in such a timeless way.
I think a lot about the ladies who came before me and I have a special regard for those like Anna Maria who became who they wanted to be against great odds. Of course she must have felt hesitant sometimes, but she kept her eye on the larger prize of self fulfillment. She must have felt irreversibly driven toward being as true to herself as possible.
I want to say thank you to my very thoughtful readers: it's amazing to be listened to, and to have complete strangers offer advice (really useful and poignant advice) as if I am a close friend. Here's to the Anna Maria in all of us!