Winter Landscape with Figures

Object Details


Winter Landscape with Figures


Jan Berents (Dutch, about 1679 - after 1733)




Netherlands (Place Created)


about 1723


Gouache on vellum, heightened with gold, laid down on panel

Object Number:



8.3 × 14.8 cm (3 1/4 × 5 13/16 in.)

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This miniature scene is cleverly composed to display both a vast sense of space, and a detailed view of life on the frozen canals. In the background, at right, the faraway towers of the Hague are visible. In the middle ground, wealthy citizens take sleigh rides, and line up to buy hot drinks from a vendor. In contrast with this, and the assorted frolicking dogs and children, the foreground features peasants hard at work cutting wood. Artist Jan Berents also creates atmospheric perspective with the considered placement of trees, flag poles, and church towers. At the base of the image, Berents adds his signature, and a reference to his unusual dual career as a mathematician.

This work is part of a long tradition of Dutch genre scenes. In particular, Berents' detailed landscape evokes those by an earlier Netherlandish artist, Pieter Bruegel. Much like Bruegel's figures, Berents' skaters have a somewhat comical air about them due to the extra long blades on their ice skates. Furthermore, his use of vellum, or fine-grained animal skin, his stippled technique, and the detailed portrayal of the winter season all evoke the work of the renowned Flemish miniature painter, Simon Bening.

by 1973

Gallery A. van der Meer (Amsterdam)


Gallery Henk J. Stokking (Amsterdam)


Jacobus A. Klaver, Dutch, 1928 - 1997 (Amsterdam) [sold, Klaver sale, Sotheby's, Amsterdam, May 10, 1994, lot 30, to the Klaver family.]

1994 - 2008

Klaver Family [sold, Sotheby's, London, July 9, 2008, lot 30, to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008.]

Tekeningen van Oude Meesters: De Verzameling Jacobus A. Klaver (1993)
  • Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam), May 8 to July 25, 1993
Recent Acquisitions in Context (September 16 to December 14, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 16 to December 14, 2008
Drawing Life: The Dutch Visual Tradition (November 24, 2009 to February 28, 2010)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 24, 2009 to February 28, 2010

Schapelhouman, Marijn and Peter Schatborn. Tekeningen van oude meesters: De verzameling Jacobus A. Klaver (Zwolle: Waanders Uitgevers, 1993), pp. 224-25, no. 105, ill.

Sotheby's, Amsterdam. The Jacobus A. Klaver Collection of Dutch Old Master Drawings. May 10, 1994, p. 50, lot 30, ill. As Jacob (?) Berents.

Sotheby's, London. Old Master Drawings. July 9, 2008, pp. 58-59, lot 30, ill.