ALSLOOT, Denis van
(b. 1570, Bruxelles, d. 1626, Bruxelles)

Skating during Carnival

c. 1620
Oil on panel, 57 x 100 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

From the late fifteenth century the landscape genre had a great development in Flanders. In many cases landscapes of the period not only showed the nature that surrounded the artists but also the population, both peasants and the upper classes, performing different activities. The snowy landscape, a typical Flemish genre, showed the people in their outdoor activities despite the cold. The scenes of skaters and carnivals became associated with this type of snowy landscapes.

Denis van Alsloot, painter to the archducal court in Brussels, was a prominent landscape painter. The scene depicted in his Skating during Carnival takes place in Antwerp, identified by the walls built with Charles V and the Church of St. Jacques. What we see is a social scene where the characters perform different activities, highlighting the skaters with colourful carnival costumes. The clothing of most of the characters indicates that this is the entertainment of the upper classes. Many of the clothes that the characters wear come from Spanish fashion, but there are also some typical Flemish garments.