Winter Landscape

Hendrick Avercamp, ca. 1608
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

In the middle of the Little Ice Age, Hendrick Avercamp painted his magnificent Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters. Winter landscapes had already been depicted in the Netherlands, but Avercamp made a specialty of them, defining not just a subgenre of landscape painting for generations to come, but an image of the so-called Golden Age of Dutch culture that persists even today. He almost never painted topographically specific views, but preferred generic and idealized scenes that represent the entire Republic as peaceful and prosperous. Here, nearly two hundred figures, young and old, rich and poor, crowd on and around the ice, sauntering, flirting, chatting, working, begging, slipping and tumbling, playing kolf, pushing sleds, riding in horse-drawn sleighs, or just standing and watching others. As our planet alarmingly warms, we can perhaps still take some refreshing, albeit wistful, solace in his charming scene of a frozen world.

James Clifton, Director, Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Houston

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Hendrick Avercamp: The Little Ice Age I

Podcast by Arthur K. Wheelock, Part 1: Winter Landscapes with Pieter Roelofs (19min)

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Hendrick Avercamp: The Little Ice Age II

Podcast by Arthur K. Wheelock, Part 2: One Community with Bianca Du Mortier (22min)

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