Winter Landscape with Skaters

Klaes Molenaer (Dutch, active before 1630-1676)

Currently on View in H215
Image Licensing

Molenaer specialized in the winter scenes that had become popular in the Dutch Republic in the early 17th century. Here, we observe leisure activities taking place outside of the city. A horse-drawn sleigh descends onto the frozen canal. At lower right, the figure of a man falling onto his knees offers a humorous counterpoint to the gracefully gliding skaters elsewhere in the composition.

Molenaer beautifully evokes the chilly atmosphere with a crisp palette of lavender, pink, and white. His emphasis on winter’s everyday pleasures liberates the subject from its medieval associations with seasonal labors like slaughtering livestock.

(Paul Drey Gallery, New York, New York) before 1968;{1} John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, in 1968.

{1} Correspondence between Elizabeth Drey and IMA director, Carl J. Weinhardt, Jr., dated 23 April 1968, in IMA Historical File (68.1.2). Paul Drey Gallery was established in New York in 1920, a branch of the noted A.S. Drey gallery of Munich. It was run by his wife Elizabeth after his death in 1953.

Object Information

Klaes Molenaer (Dutch, active before 1630-1676)
creation date
about 1660
oil on panel
10-1/8 x 13-1/2 in.
accession number
credit line
James E. Roberts Fund
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture Before 1800

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