Hendrick Avercamp


Oil on panel, 77.3 x 131.9 cm.
The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Hendrick Avercamp, Winter

Amsterdam 1585–Kampen 1634

Baptized in Amsterdam on 27 January, 1585, Avercamp was taken the next year to Kampen, a
small town by the Zuider Zee. He was called 'de stomme van Kampen' (the mute of Kampen)
because he was dumb. His art was devoted to winter scenes of outdoor sport and leisure. Initially his style was based on that of the Flemish followers of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. He composed his scenes which show the bare, flat, spaces of the frozen Zuider Zee become busy with a multitude of small animated figures using careful preparatory drawings, and the same figures recur in several works. His nephew, Barent Avercamp, followed his style and another artist, Arent Arentsz., called Cabel (about 1585–1653), painted similar subjects. Avercamp died in Kampen and was buried there on 15 May, 1634.

John Nash, The Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer, London, 1972