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

Winter Landscape

Oil on panel, 37 x 34 cm
Private collection

This winter landscape depicts a frozen canal with a horse-drawn sledge near a cottage, two figures with a dog on a bridge, and a sleigh filled with wood in the foreground.

Isaack van Ostade who died young, at only 28 years of age, painted exclusively winter landscapes and tavern scenes from c. 1642 until his death. For the inhabitants of northwestern Europe, the 17th century came in the middle of a centuries-long period of extremely cold winters and relatively cool summers. The period of circa 1550 until circa 1850 has been labeled the Little Ice Age, a period in which winters not only lasted for months at a time but also were invariably colder than now, causing canals and rivers to be frozen deep enough to support ice skating and winter festivals.