Maida and George Abrams Collection, Boston © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

At once bold in its realism and understated in its uniform coloration, this grisaille drawing exemplifies the reasons why Van de Velde is commonly described as the most inventive Dutch landscapist of his generation. Relying ona combination of black chalk and gray wash, the artist skillfully evoked the overcast quality of a bleak winter’s day. Large areas of the paper were left untouched, describing the soft, luminous surfaces of freshly fallen snow and the frozen canal. While the scene is populated with figures engaged in familiar everyday activities, the main protagonist of the drawing is undoubtedly the village itself. The array of rustic elements—wooden huts, a church, a bridge, a canal, and a few trees—belong to a vocabulary of typically “Dutch” features shared by many landscapists of Van de Velde’s generation. They represent a new kind of picturesque ideal that characterized the later 17th-century Dutch landscape tradition.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Esaias van de Velde, Dutch (Amsterdam, Netherlands 1587 - 1630 The Hague, Netherlands)
Village in Winter
Work Type
Level 2, Room 2300, European Art, 17th–19th century, Seventeenth–Century Dutch and Flemish Art
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Physical Descriptions
Black chalk, stumped in places, and gray wash on cream antique laid paper
18.5 x 30.5 cm (7 5/16 x 12 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Maida and George Abrams Collection, Boston, Massachusetts
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

William W. Robinson, Bruegel to Rembrandt: Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2002), cat. no. 11, repr.

Exhibition History

Bruegel to Rembrandt: Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, British Museum, London, 06/13/2002 - 09/22/2002; Institut Néerlandais, Paris, 10/10/2002 - 12/08/2002; Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/22/2003 - 07/06/2003

32Q: 2300 Dutch & Flemish, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/08/2017 - 01/17/2018

The Art of Drawing in the Early Dutch Golden Age, 1590–1630: Selected Works from the Abrams Collection, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/09/2017 - 01/14/2018

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