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A Winter Scene
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This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Hendrik Meyer
Dutch, 1787
Black chalk, pen and brown ink, gouache, pen and black ink framing lines
14 5/8 x 19 in.
2004.46.2

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Hendrik Meyer illustrated the subject of this watercolor--an idealized version of winter in a Dutch village--in great detail. A barren tree rendered in crisp lines and white highlights, dominates the foreground. The sky is filled with gray clouds, smoke pours from a cottage chimney, and a nearby stream is frozen over. A partially submerged rowboat is covered with snow and ice. Despite the frigid weather, people are outside, keeping warm with activities such as chopping and gathering wood, sledding, and ice-skating. Other elements in the scene also suggest movement: a windmill, chimney smoke, and birds circling or flying in formation. The landscape is filled with delicate textures: grass peeking through snow, a thatched roof, and skaters' trails on ice.

Meyer's figured landscapes were produced as finished works for sale. They revived a seventeenth-century tradition of such scenes, hearkening back to Dutch painters such as Pieter Bruegel the Elder, as well as calendar illustrations in medieval books of hours. Artists represented times of the year by showing people engaged in seasonal activities. Winter depictions often featured peasants felling trees, gathering wood, and ice-skating.