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Adriaen van de Velde, Golfers on the Ice near Haarlem

Key facts
Full title Golfers on the Ice near Haarlem
Artist Adriaen van de Velde
Artist dates 1636 - 1672
Date made 1668
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 30.3 × 36.4 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1871
Inventory number NG869
Location Room 16
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Golfers on the Ice near Haarlem
Adriaen van de Velde

Paintings of life on the frozen waterways of Holland during the Little Ice Age were very popular with collectors at the time. Many artists, usually known for painting rivers or landscapes, produced them, and Adriaen van de Velde was one of the most successful. But in this painting he has concentrated on individual characters and their activities, rather than details of the icy landscape.

The men in the foreground play kolf, the forerunner of golf. People of all ranks could take part, and it was guaranteed to draw onlookers to give opinions and advice. The player with jaunty red tassels on his petticoat breeches takes aim to hit the post put in position by the man just peeping out from behind him. A young boy, hands stuffed in his pockets and a hint of snow on one boot, watches with his kolf stick at his side, as if longing to join in.

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