It was only recently that in the Netherlands, after years of hoping for a cold snap, we were finally able to put on our skates again to go out on the canals. Our skating fever was raised, after all, such a harsh winter had been a while ago. And although the skating clubs were eager to open their tracks, we had to rely on natural ice. Fortunately, the traditional cake-and-zopie tents were transformed into takeaway stalls to order coffee and mulled wine to-go.
It is clear that we love ice fun in the Netherlands. After a few nights of freezing, the skates were sold out en masse and the frozen puddles and ditches were crowded. The winter landscape was often painted by painters such as Aert van der Neer and Hendrick Avercamp as early as the 17th century. After painters took their inspiration from these old masters in the 19th century, the ice scene developed into a popular genre. Sometimes even complete with falls, as depicted by Mari ten Kate. The most famous painter of ice scenes in that period was Andreas Schelfhout. In Snowy Winter Landscape, he has beautifully portrayed the Dutch winter landscape in a small format, including a boat that threatens to sink in the cold water. Schelfhout's predilection for winter scenes can also be seen in the work of his pupil Charles Leickert. In Densely populated city canal in winter, we see what a 19th-century city must have looked like in winter, with people skating and activity on the ice.
With the painters of the Hague School we find beautiful scenes of winter nature. Painters who painted 'en plein air' portrayed the mood in nature in a special way, as Anton Mauve did in his Shepherd and sheep in the snow. And the packs of snow that we see in the Snowy barns in the forest of Louis Apol make us long for winter even in spring. Wim Schuhmacher's colorful snowy landscape was also painted outdoors during a stay at Hillegersberg, where he met Herman Bieling. Together they went out: "We climbed fences... In winter, in the snow, and sat there with clogs-with-straw and warm milk, and worked until we passed out."
Winter connects. Fun on the ice is enjoyed by young and old, which is also reflected in the paintings by the impressionists Johan Antoni de Jonge and Jan Franken, where everyone comes together and enjoys ice skating. We long for a time when we can be so close to each other on the ice again. Until then, you can at least enjoy the winter paintings in our galleries, and who knows, soon at your home.