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A road leads from the right to left with a frozen pond on the left and houses on the right.

People skate on a frozen pond, one person leans over from a rowboat, and a man and woman pause near the center with a dog nearby, their backs to the viewer. The man has hunched shoulders with long coat, hat, and a walking stick; the woman wears a long dress with winter cape covering her head. A wooden walking bridge extends over a canal, connecting to the road with steps. A few bare trees are rendered between houses. Everything is covered with a light layer of snow. The sky is cloudy overcast and gives the feeling of snow approaching.

Gallery Text

This small winter scene exemplifies Van de Velde’s masterful graphic and painting techniques, which were instrumental in the development of naturalistic landscapes in the Northern Netherlands. Visible to the naked eye, an underdrawing is painted in light brown on a white ground. The artist then selectively added layers of color for highlights or greater definition. Exposing the streaks of the woodgrain of the panel, Van de Velde swiftly executed the landscape with broad brushstrokes and thinly applied paint to convey the textured surfaces of the ice, trees, and wooden huts, the passage of the wind, and the movement of the clouds. The figures were added at a later stage in the composition. The immediacy and conciseness of Van de Velde’s paintingpractice were influential to the work of his famous pupil, Jan van Goyen, whose work is shown nearby.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Esaias van de Velde, Dutch (Amsterdam, Netherlands 1587 - 1630 The Hague, Netherlands)
A Winter Landscape
Work Type
Persistent Link


Level 2, Room 2300, European Art, 17th–19th century, Seventeenth–Century Dutch and Flemish Art
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Physical Descriptions

Oil on panel
16.3 × 24.5 cm (6 7/16 × 9 5/8 in.)
30.5 × 38.2 cm (12 × 15 1/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: lower right: E. V. VELDE 1619


Recorded Ownership History
Private Collection, Scandinavia, sold [through Sotheby's, London, December 6, 1995, lot 1]. [Johnny Van Haeften, Ltd., London], sold; to Peter and Anne Brooke, Boston, MA, 1996, gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2017

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Peter and Anne Brooke
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

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Publication History

  • Old Master Paintings, Including Pictures from the Drury Lowe Collection at Locko Park, auct. cat., Sotheby's, London (London, December 6, 1995), Lot 1, repr.
  • Ronni Baer, The Poetry of Everyday Life: Dutch Painting in Boston, MFA Publications (Boston, 2002), p. 104, repr.

Exhibition History

  • The Poetry of Everyday Life: Dutch Painting in Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 06/12/2002 - 09/15/2002
  • 32Q: 2300 Dutch & Flemish, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/17/2018 - 09/25/2019; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/01/2019 - 01/01/2050

Verification Level

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