OSTADE, Isaack van
(b. 1621, Haarlem, d. 1649, Haarlem)

A Winter Scene

c. 1645
Oil on wood, 48,8 x 40 cm
National Gallery, London

Isack van Ostade was the short-lived younger brother of the painter of scenes from peasant life, Adriaen van Ostade. They were both born, lived and worked in Haarlem, and Isack was a pupil of his brother who was eleven years his senior. Isack joined the guild in 1643. His earliest paintings - the first dated picture is from 1639 - are peasant interiors dependent on Adriaen's, but towards the end of his brief career he became more interested in outdoor scenes and produced a series of beautiful and original landscapes, often set in winter. This deliberately picturesque view, its low viewpoint serving to outline the wooden bridge against the sky, is one of his finest paintings. It is rich in its treatment of the details of peasant life, whose harsh aspects (as seen, for example, in the figure of the man labouring under his load of faggots) are relieved by the pleasure taken by the child in the anticipation of skating on the frozen river.

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