REMBRANDT Harmenszoon van Rijn
(b. 1606, Leiden, d. 1669, Amsterdam)

Winter Landscape

Oil on oak, 17 x 23 cm
Staatliche Museen, Kassel

Catalogue number: Bredius 452.

This small painting is Rembrandt's only known winter landscape. His precise depiction of an everyday country scene gives the impression that Rembrandt painted the work on the spot, out of doors. In reality, though, the artist produced his landscape paintings in the studio, working from sketches.

For the most part, Rembrandt reserved his direct responses to the flat, open countryside of his native land for his drawings and etchings. Very few of his painted landscapes show the same naturalism of approach and, of those that do, the Winter Landscape is the only one not to be partly veiled in shadow. It was not painted from nature as artists did not work out of doors at that time of year, but its small size and broad handling suggest that it was a sketch. It is less decorative than other Dutch winter landscapes of the period, and the depiction of the weather is startlingly realistic.

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