Dose of Art #201: Hendrick Avercamp – Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters (c. 1608)
Hendrick Avercamp (1585-1634) was born in Amsterdam, but lived in Kampen (a Duch city that was part of the by-then dwindling Hanseatic League) from 1614 until his death in 1634. He was referred to as “the Kampen Mute”, so we assume that he was deaf and dumb. Avercamp had been taught in Amsterdam by Pieter Isacksz, and specialized in winter landscapes. This painting, dated around 1608, is an excellent example of his winter scenes. It is a typical “look-and-discover” painting with many details that reveal themselves only when you look real carefully.
The first thing you notice is all the people on the ice who -each in their own way- enjoy the winter. Some skate, some work, some play ice-hockey, and others just watch what is going on around them. When we zoom in on different parts of the painting we see some lovely details.
But there’s more going on than just winter-fun and drama. If you look at the fringes there are some strange details.