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Jan van de Capelle (1625/1626-Amsterdam-1679)

Jan van de Capelle (1625/1626-Amsterdam-1679)



Winter landscape

Oil on panel

Netherlands, 1652/1653

30 x 59 cm

Black wooden frame

  • Historic winter view

    The winter landscape scene is structured around a frozen river in the center that extends to the lower right edge of the panel. The spatial return is achieved by the natural course of the river, which is framed by houses and trees on the banks. The direction of the figures leads the eye to the background.

     In the foreground, frozen in the ice, lies a boat. The blue sky at the upper edge quickly begins to be covered by dense clouds, patches that suggest rain and humidity.


     The composition is typical of Van de Cappelle because he often used the motif of a river receding into the distance and framed on either side by trees and shrubs with boats frozen in the ice. The artist painted about twenty winter landscapes, the most successful of which date from between 1652 and 1653, in which the effects of the weather and the atmosphere are the real protagonists.


    The painting shows detailed brushstrokes that are characteristic of the oil painting technique. The composition and the way in which the figures and objects are depicted indicate a careful and skilled hand.


     Oil paint is known for its rich texture and durability, which is visible in the depth of the colors and subtle transitions between shades.


    The color palette consists of muted blues and grays in the sky, indicating an overcast day or late afternoon. The earthy colors of the houses and naked trees add to the wintery atmosphere of the scene.

  • Jan van de Capelle

    Jan van de Capelle (also called Jan van de Cappelle) was a Dutch painter of seascapes and winter landscapes from the Golden Age, who was also known as an industrialist and art collector. He is 'now considered the most important sea painter of the 17th century Netherlands'.

    Two careers

    He lived in Amsterdam all his life and in addition to his work as an artist, he spent much of his time managing the large dye house of his father Franchoy, which specialized in the expensive dye carmine and which he eventually inherited in 1674.

    Presumably because of this dual career, fewer than 150 paintings have survived, a relatively small number for the industrious painters of the Dutch Golden Age.

    He probably received some training from Simon de Vlieger, whose style is closest to his early paintings, and perhaps from other masters such as Willem van de Velde the Elder.

    Sea and river views

    Most of his works are sea or river views, almost always with several ships, but he also left a number of small winter landscapes, somewhat in the style of Aert van der Neer, all of which seem to date between 1652 and 1654.

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