Chateau in Winterc. 1839 by
Koekkoek, Barend Cornelius 1803-1862
"Chateau in Winter" was a famous work in its time and is original from which many copies were made. One of many winter scenes painted by Koekkoek, it continues an important theme of Dutch Baroque painting. The miniature scale of objects, the crisp detail, the delight of the eye, from the varied activities of the Dutch folk to the complex design of the old castle. Yet the overall effect is harmonious: this is not a depiction of a particular site, but an assemblage of details artfully arranged. The castle makes a powerful focal point, and the figures move back along the diagonals of the frozen canal and snow-covered roadway. The horizon is set low, although obscured by mists, so that the overcast sky forms a large luminous field against which bare trees trace a delicate filigree. Sunlight is refracted by the clouds and reflected off the snow and ice, giving the painting a magical overall golden and silvery tonality.
Koekkeok helps one to experience the Dutch winter in other ways as well. Grasses, trees, and rooftops all have a light dusting of snow. Icicles hang from the tiled roofs of the castle. The mirror-surface of the ice is distributed by tracks left by skates and sledges and by gemlike ice chunks resting on its surface. Through the varied activates if the villagers, the artist shows us how daily life continues in distinctive ways during the winter month: the frozen river is now a thoroughfare for skaters, who go about their business with new grace and speed.
Size (inches): 19 1/2 x 31
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Location: Haggin Room