Art/ Collection/ Art Object

A Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters and an Imaginary Castle

Christoffel van den Berghe (Dutch, Antwerp ca. 1590–1628 or later, active Middelburg)
ca. 1615–20
Oil on wood
Overall, with added strips, 11 x 18 3/8 in. (27.9 x 46.7 cm); painted surface 10 3/4 x 18 in. (27.3 x 45.7 cm)
Credit Line:
From the Collection of Rita and Frits Markus, Bequest of Rita Markus, 2005
Accession Number:
Not on view
The artist’s family fled Flanders to the neighboring Dutch province of Zeeland. In Middelburg he specialized in precious flower pictures and landscapes like this one, where the decorative distribution of trees, the stage scenery of castle, farmhouse, and distant town, and the operatic ensemble of colorful characters seem more Flemish than Dutch.
This painting was formerly attributed to Hendrick Avercamp (1585–1634), a pioneering painter of winter scenes. When Clara Welcker included it in her 1933 monograph on Avercamp, the painting was said to bear the artist's monogram; no inscription is visible now. Landscapes by Christoffel van den Berghe were unknown at the time.

The painting is less reminiscent of works by Avercamp than of the winter landscapes painted by Adriaen van de Venne (1589–1662), Van den Berghe's contemporary in Middelburg. Both the figures and the setting in Van den Berghe's small Winter Landscape of about 1615–20 (Mauritshuis, The Hague) strongly support the attribution of the MMA work to that artist during the same period.

[2010; adapted from Liedtke 2007]
[Asscher & Welker, London, in 1929]; [P. de Boer, Amsterdam, and Charles Albert de Burlet, Berlin, in 1930]; [N. Beets, Amsterdam, in 1933]; Frits and Rita Markus, New York (until his d. 1996); Rita Markus, New York (1996–d. 2005)
Amsterdam. Jacques Goudstikker. "Tentoonstelling van Hollandsche Winterlandschappen uit de 17e Eeuw," February 6–29, 1932, no. 5 (as by Hendrik Avercamp).

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.

Clara J. Welcker. Hendrick Avercamp, 1585-1634, bijgenaamd "De Stomme van Campen," en Barent Avercamp, 1612-1679, "Schilders tot Campen". Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1933, pp. 88, 204, no. S13, pl. I, fig. XIII, as an early work by Hendrick Avercamp, then with the dealer Beets in Amsterdam.

Clara J. Welcker and D. J. Hensbroek-van der Poel. Hendrick Avercamp, 1585–1634, bijgenaamd "De Stomme van Campen," en Barent Avercamp, 1612–1679, "Schilders tot Campen". Doornspijk, The Netherlands, 1979, pp. 88, 204, 237–38, nos. S13, S406, S415, pl. I, fig. XIII, as with Asscher & Welker, London, in 1929.

Albert Blankert in Hendrick Avercamp (1585–1634) Barent Avercamp (1612–1679): Frozen Silence. Exh. cat., Waterman Gallery. Amsterdam, 1982, p. 27, as an early, "very Flemish" picture by Hendrick Avercamp, dating from about 1605–8.

Walter Liedtke in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2005–2006." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 64 (Fall 2006), p. 36.

Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 65, 67, 70, fig. 80 (color).

Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. 29–30, no. 6, colorpl. 6, states that "the costumes, as well as the style of the picture, suggest a date of about 1615–20".

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