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A Winter Landscape with Figures Skating on a Frozen River, Prince Maurits of Orange-Nassau with a Hunting Party in the Foreground
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Adriaen Pietersz. van de Venne\nDelft 1589 - 1662 The Hague, A Winter Landscape with Figures Skating on a Frozen River, Prince Maurits of Orange-Nassau with a Hunting Party in the Foreground\nSigned and dated lower left: AV VENNE/1620 (AV in compendium)\nOil on oak panel\n75 by 114 .5 cm.; 29 1/2 by 45 1/8 in.
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notes

Dated 1620, this winter landscape belongs to the early part of Van de Venne's career, during which time he worked in the city of Middelburg, the centre of the northern Dutch province of Zeeland. The felicitious scene records one of the favourite civic past-times in the Dutch Republic and celebrates the peace and subsequent prosperity established by Prince Maurits of Orange-Nassau – seen here in the lower left foreground - following his signing of the ceasefire in 1609 between the Dutch and the Spanish-dominated southern Netherlands.

This is one of only a small number of winter landscapes painted by Van de Venne during his Middelburg period, although in scale and conception is far more ambitious than his other surviving works.1  The subject of the painting appears to be the celebration of the peace and prosperity delivered by Prince Maurits of Orange-Nassau, depicted here with a hunting party, following his signing of the Twelve Years Truce with the Southern Netherlands in 1609. Van de Venne’s loyalty to the house of Orange-Nassau is revealed through numerous works painted as propaganda for the Stadholder and his successor Frederick Henry. This includes a pair of portraits of the Princes, engraved in 1618 by Willem Jacobsz. Delff, impressions of which were purchased by the States General, the ruling executive of the United Dutch Provinces. Indeed on Van de Venne’s arrival in The Hague in 1625 it seems highly probable that he was in the employ of the Stadholders, for he produced a series of 105 miniatures (today mostly in the British Museum, London) celebrating the assumption of power of Frederick Henry and his marriage in 1625 to Amalia von Solms, as well as eulogising the Stadholder’s rule, country, military prowess, court and major industries.

Adriaen van de Venne was born in Delft in 1589, where his parents settled having fled the Southern Netherlands to escape war and religious persecution. He trained with the lesser-known Leiden painter Simon de Valck and Hieronymous Diest, the latter of whom taught him to paint en grisaille, a technique he adopted almost exclusively during the latter part of his working life. During his early career he was based in Middelburg, where he is recorded from 1614 until 1624, after which he moved to The Hague where he spent the remainder of his life. His earliest paintings date from 1614 and reveal the work of an accomplished artist familiar with the landscapes of the local Middelburg painters as well as those of the Antwerp painter Jan Brueghel the Elder. In addition, however, his early works are characterised by a strong religious and political iconography, as for example in his painting Fishing for Souls, today in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, in which Protestants and Catholics are depicted in boats on opposite sides of a river and are occupied in attracting converts – the Protestants through the scriptures, the Catholics through music and other methods considered underhand. This allegory of the religious divisions within Europe set against the backdrop of the war of independence between the Dutch State and the Spanish-governed Southern Netherlands would dominate many of the artist’s early work, including his painting of An Allegory of the Twelve Years Truce, today in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, which incorporates a self-portrait of the artist on the extreme right of the composition.

The present work represents one of Van de Venne’s most ambitious works from the early part of his career and furthermore pays homage to the saviour of the Dutch Republic, Prince Maurits of Orange-Nassau, whose direct patronage the artist almost certainly enjoyed before the Stadholder’s death in 1625. Until now the painting has remained untraced since it was last recorded in 1949.

1  Compare, for example, his Winter Landscape of 1614 in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, or his Winter Landscape of 1615 in the Worcester Art Museum, U.S.A..

medium

Oil on oak panel

creator

Adriaen Pietersz. van de Venne

dimensions

75 by 114 .5 cm.; 29 1/2 by 45 1/8 in.

literature

The Illustrated London News, Christmas 1949 edition, reproduced in colour;

L.J. Bol, Adriaen Pietersz. van de Venne, Painter and Draughtsman, Doornspijk 1989, pp. 18-19, reproduced figs. 6-8.

provenance

In the collection of Captain Eric C. Palmer M.C., London, by 1949;

Acquired shortly thereafter by the late husband of the present owner.


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*Vänligen notera att att priset inte är omräknat till dagens värde, utan avser slutpriset vid tidpunkten när föremålet såldes.


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