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Esaias van de Velde, A Winter Landscape

Key facts
Full title A Winter Landscape
Artist Esaias van de Velde
Artist dates 1587 - 1630
Date made 1623
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 25.9 × 30.4 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1957
Inventory number NG6269
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Winter Landscape
Esaias van de Velde

This little picture completely captures the atmosphere of a late winter’s day. The soft, muted colours convey the cold bleakness of the scene but also suggest the promise of coming warmth. The snow has mostly gone, although small patches hold on tenaciously, especially at the back of the house – but on the wall is a shadow of the gnarled old tree. The sun has definitely come out, if only for a moment.

Esaias van de Velde was among the first of the Dutch painters of the early seventeenth century to adopt a new style of painting winter landscapes. Unlike the incident-packed, bird’s-eye views by earlier artists, we are on a level with the church on the far bank. There are fewer figures, too – just enough to involve us, but not enough to distract from the view and how it feels to be there.

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