AVERCAMP, Hendrick
(b. 1585, Amsterdam, d. 1634, Kampen)

Winter Landscape with Skaters

c. 1608
Oil on wood, 78 x 132 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

There are many interesting details in this crowded scene which was certainly inspired by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

Avercamp's early winter landscapes (from before 1608) are very Flemish in technique and composition: a very high horizon, many figures and a composition set up something like theatrical scenery. Between 1610 and 1620, however, the horizon in his paintings drops lower and lower, the scenery-like elements are thinned out and the figures become more grouped within the composition. Around 1615, the theme of "Winter landscape with skaters" was gradually transformed into a depiction of the "Joys of winter", with the accent clearly on the figures. After 1620, he absorbed the influence of Esaias van den Velde and Jan van Goyen, and his compositions became more enclosed, with the figures melting somewhat into the landscape.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 11 minutes):
Vivaldi: Concerto in F minor RV 297 op. 8 No. 4 (Winter)