However, as the production of cheese was dominated by the Dutch Republic in the north, these paintings were generally by northern artists. Peeters was the only artist from what was then the Spanish-ruled Southern Netherlands to specialize in this genre. And clearly it was worth her while. She painted cheeses similar to the ones in the painting I am obsessed with on a number of occasions, varying the accompanying objects each time.
Did she actually paint them for the northern market? Did a stack of imported cheeses indicate wealth for southern buyers? Or were they a sign of pride for those who disliked being under the Spanish yoke?
With such little information about Peeters’s life, it’s difficult to draw firm conclusions on her motivations as an artist. But the facts we do have suggest that Peeters was a forward-thinking 17th-century female painter who tried to stand out from the crowd by specializing in capturing rich, tantalizing Dutch cheeses. Honestly, what’s not to love?