Winter Landscape with Skaters near a Castle

Winter Landscape with Skaters near a Castle

Dutch, 1589-1662
Winter Landscape with Skaters near a Castle, 1615
Oil on panel
Charlotte E. W. Buffington Fund

Copyright Notice

Van de Venne was a poet and a versatile artist whose work ranged from extremely colorful paintings of historical and allegorical subjects to monochromatic illustrations of proverbs. He painted this small winter scene early in his career while living in Middelburg, one of the major trading centers of the new Dutch republic. The bird's-eye view and intense coloring recall the Flemish landscape tradition of the sixteenth century, which had been established by artists like Pieter Brueghel the Elder. A variety of anecdotal figures represent all levels of Dutch society, from the worker chopping wood at the lower left to the well-dressed patricians enjoying the outdoor activities of winter. This painting is one of a set of four landscapes by van de Venne that make up the Four Seasons, a popular theme in northern European art. (The two representing spring and summer are at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, and the one depicting autumn is in a private collection.)