barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Jan van de Velde (c.1593-1641)

The Seasons: Winter

Enkhuizen, 1617


Paper 265 x 350 mm; mount 405 x 557 mm


This etching of a landscape during winter in Holland is part of a series of the seasons made by Jan van de Velde in 1617.

Van de Velde’s simple composition and fluent hatching captures the bleakness of a winter landscape. However, the Latin inscription at the bottom adds optimism to the scene. ‘Winter is not inactive, nor the cold wearisome… consider our young people. Behold, in severe frosty weather the rivers are worn down by iron-clad feet and lead extensive dances through the countryside.’ The frozen river is dotted with groups of children and young couples ice-skating and sledging. Van de Velde celebrates winter as an opportunity for young people to relax and play after the rigours of the autumn harvest.

Purchased 1955 (No.55.14/4)

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