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de jonckheere old masters

Jacob Grimmer

The preparations for winter in a panoramic landscape

Panel: 28,5 x 38,5 cm
Signed

introduction

The undisputed master of paintings portraying rural Flemish scenes, Jacob Grimmer reveals country life at the end of autumn in this particular work. Faithful to the tradition of country scenes, the artist adopts a simple and effective composition. In the foreground, seasonal workers are busy transporting their few possessions in a wheelbarrow or handcart. Men, women and children would move house for a season to find work in winter, perhaps in a town. In the estate’s kitchen garden in the distance, we can see the mistress of the castle and her son observing the final preparations before the arrival of the first frost. Their magnificent brick mansion, with its characteristic architecture, can be seen behind them. Further away, a church stands out from the trees, announcing the presence of a village.

As our gaze travels across the painting thanks to the staggered planes, it naturally leads to a luminous horizon. This vast panorama, composed of gentle valleys, is delicately divided into two parts, the first one evoking the earth and farming activities and the other, the vast clear, translucent sky. The thin, slender trees demonstrate the efforts to simplify the landscape so dear to Jacob Grimmer. The perfect harmony of the tones used between heaven and earth, as well as the numerous carefully-executed details, make this painting a wonderful illustration of rural Flemish life in the 16th century. Besides the picturesque landscape, the small characters that animate the painting invite us to contemplate an era when the earth’s riches governed everyday life. The landscape is no longer the simple décor for a scene; thanks to this artist, it has become a genuine pretext to portray a traditional scene of life in Flanders. A forerunner of the genre, Jacob Grimmer presents us with panoramic spaces, sublimated solely by the purity and the very essence of the landscape itself.

Provenance :
Sotheby’s London, December 2000;
Private collection.

Littérature :
Reine Bertier de Sauvigny, Jacob et Abel Grimmer, catalogue raisonné, La Renaissance du Livre, 1991, p. 81-83.

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