Martina and her sisters were not brought up for a life of obscurity by their parents: Plantin made sure that his daughters could read and write (some of them even in Latin and Hebrew). Later they were involved in the family’s commercial activities to the best of their ability. Thus Martina was already running her parents’ lace shop at the age of seventeen. Even after her marriage she remained active in this business.
Martina is here depicted by Rubens in dark clothing from the 16th century. The high ruff, distinctive shoulder-knots, typical incisions in the cloth, heavy gold chain and fine lace show a formidable businesswoman from the wealthy bourgeoisie.