National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of A Scene on the Ice Hendrick Avercamp (artist)
Dutch, 1585 - 1634
A Scene on the Ice, c. 1625
oil on panel
overall: 39.2 x 77 cm (15 7/16 x 30 5/16 in.) framed: 64.8 x 102.2 x 5.7 cm (25 1/2 x 40 1/4 x 2 1/4 in.)
Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund
1967.3.1
Not on View
From the Tour: Dutch Landscapes and Seascapes of the 1600s
Object 1 of 8

All classes of Dutch society mingle while enjoying winter sports. From the lower left corner, a poor fisherman surveys the many skaters. At the center, well-dressed ladies ride in an elegant sleigh driven by a groom; the horse’s shoes are spiked for traction on the slippery surface. Two little boys in the right corner play a game of kolf, a cross between modern-day hockey and golf. And in the background, sledges act as commercial freighters on the ice.

Avercamp, who combined the Dutch love of landscape with scenes of daily life called genre, was among the first European artists to specialize in depicting winter. The pearly gray tonality here becomes ever paler and the forms less distinct as they move into the distance, subtly conveying a sense of deep space on a frosty day.

The setting may be the quiet village of Kampen northeast of Amsterdam. Very successful financially, Avercamp was called de stomme van Kampen, meaning “the mute of Kampen.” It is known he was deaf throughout his life.

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