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Hendrick Avercamp

Amsterdam 1585 - Kampen 1663

In 1586, Barent Avercamp became a pharmacist in the town of Kampen where he settled with his family and his son Hendrick, who was born mute. Hendrick continued to live with his mother after the death of his father in 1602. Nicknamed the “Mute of Kampen”, he trained as a painter with Pierre Isaacsz in Amsterdam, where he was directly influenced by Flemish landscape artists such as Gillis van Coninxloo and David Vinckboons who had taken refuge there.

Avercamp’s first winter landscapes (before 1608) were very Flemish in their technique and composition: a very high horizon line, a great many figures and a composition that was reminiscent of a theatre set. Between 1610 and 1620, the horizon line in his paintings gradually descended, there were fewer elements in the background and the figures were placed in groups in the composition. Around 1615, the theme of the “Winter landscape with ice skaters” gradually changed into a portrayal of the “Pleasures of winter”, where the emphasis was clearly placed on the characters. After 1620, he continued to be influenced by Esaias van den Velde and Jan van Goyen; his compositions became more enveloped and the figures appeared to melt into the landscape.