Hendrick Avercamp

Dates1585 - 1634

The year after his birth, Hendrik Avercamp's family moved to Kampen, where the artist spent most of his life. Avercamp was a deaf-mute from birth, and was commonly known by his nickname, "de Stomme" or "de Stom," translated as "the mute" in Dutch. It is generally assumed that he was a pupil of the history and portrait painter Pieter Isaacks, in whose house in Amsterdam he is thought to have lived in 1607. His style is distinctly linked to Flemish landscape painters such as Hans Bol, Gillis van Coninxloo, and David Vinckboons, who had fled to Amsterdam when Antwerp was invaded for a second time by the Spanish in 1585.

Avercamp specialized in, and indeed virtually established the Dutch genre of animated and colorful winter scenes with people disporting on the ice. His imagery reflects the flush of creativity, optimism, and sense of Dutch identity issuing from Holland's achievement of independence from Spain during the early seventeenth century, which gave rise to the Golden Age of Dutch art and culture.

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