Beerstraten drew and painted numerous views in Amsterdam and in nearby villages. The paintings usually feature one prominent building in a snow-dusted landscape, with ice skaters and other figures on a frozen waterway in the foreground. He also recorded views of churches farther afield.
The village of Sloten, on the southwest edge of modern Amsterdam, was incorporated into the city in 1921. The Reformed Church (or Petruskerk) was replaced in the 1860s; its structural problems dated back to 1572, when Spanish troops destroyed a much larger choir than the one seen here (it was rebuilt in the mid-1650s). This painting and a closely related canvas in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, show the church from the north. The church tower of Amstelveen, to the southeast of Sloten, is visible in the left background of the Amsterdam picture.
Thiel (1968) details the differences between the two versions, concluding that the Amsterdam work is more successful in its sense of space and naturalistic handling, and more faithful in its description of the church. However, Beerstraten probably departed from actual appearances to some extent in both paintings. The Met's canvas may represent a shift in emphasis from exclusively topographical concerns to the theme of winter pleasures in the tradition of Hendrick Avercamp (1585–1634).
Both works are probably based on a single drawing made at the site, and could date from the early to mid-1660s. The more straightforward treatment of the subject in the Amsterdam canvas suggests that it was most likely painted first.
[2010; adapted from Liedtke 2007]
Inscription: Signed and inscribed (lower right): Slooten / J. Beer-straaten / pingit
sale, F. Muller and Co., Amsterdam, April 25, 1911, no. 5, to Johnson for The Met
Wooster, Ohio. Josephine Long Wishart Museum of Art. "Exhibition of Paintings of French, Italian, Dutch, Flemish and German Masters, lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 20–December 15, 1944, unnumbered cat. (p. 11).
Nashville. Carl Van Vechten Gallery, Fisk University. "22nd Festival of Music and Art: Metropolitan Museum of Art Loan Exhibition," April 20–August 15, 1951, no catalogue.
Atlanta University. "22nd Festival of Music and Art: Metropolitan Museum of Art Loan Exhibition," September 1, 1951–January 30, 1952, no catalogue.
New Orleans. Dillard University. "22nd Festival of Music and Art: Metropolitan Museum of Art Loan Exhibition," February 1–April 30, 1952, no catalogue.
Pensacola, Fla. Pensacola Art Center. "Opening exhibition," October 26–November 30, 1955, no catalogue.
Jacksonville, Fla. Jacksonville Art Museum. December 15, 1955–January 30, 1956, no catalogue.
University Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley. "Dutch Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 25, 1969–January 4, 1970, checklist no. 1.
Houston. Rice University. "Dutch Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 18–March 1, 1970, checklist no. 1.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.
Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 8.
P[ieter]. J. J. van Thiel. "De kerk te Sloten door Jan Abrahamsz. Beerstraaten." Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum 16 (June 1968), pp. 51, 54–55, 56 n. 2, fig. 2, describes the differences between this picture and the version by Jan Beerstraten in Amsterdam, and considers the former so much weaker in quality that it must be by another painter, perhaps a relative (but not a son) who was also a J. or even a Jan Beerstraten, and who was inclined to imitate the better-known artist's signature.
Gary Schwartz. The Dutch World of Painting. Exh. cat., Vancouver Art Gallery. Maarssen, The Netherlands, 1986, p. 61, under no. 25, misreads Thiel [see Ref. 1968], reporting that it "is believed to be a copy by Beerstraten's son".
Christopher Brown in Neil MacLaren. The Dutch School, 1600–1900. [2nd ed.]. London, 1991, vol. 1, p. 14 n. 11, rejects much of Thiel's argument [see Ref. 1968], maintaining that "the discrepancies between the two paintings are not great enough to justify their attribution to two different hands".
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 328, ill.
Norbert Middelkoop. The Golden Age of Dutch Art: Seventeenth Century Paintings from the Rijksmuseum and Australian Collections. Exh. cat., Art Gallery of Western Australia. [Perth], 1997, p. 68 n. 1, under no. 22, as another version of the Amsterdam picture.
G. van der Most. Jan Abrahamsz, Abraham, Anthonie Beerstraten: kunstschilders uit de zeventiende eeuw. Noorden, 2002, p. 28, as "a slightly different version" of the Amsterdam painting.
Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), p. 21.
Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. 20–23, no. 4, colorpl. 4, states that the MMA and Amsterdam paintings could date from the early to mid-1660s, and that they are probably based on a single drawing; suggests that the MMA work was painted after the Amsterdam picture, based on "the more straightforward treatment of the subject" in that canvas.
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