Hendrick Avercamp was a famous Dutch painter. He lived in the 1600s, when the many canals and rivers in the Netherlands froze solid every winter. Hendrick specialized in painting these frosty winter scenes.
 
Hendrick was known as the “Mute of Kampen,” because he didn’t speak very much. (Kampen was his hometown.) He was probably deaf, and some people think his inability to hear made Hendrick pay closer attention to the way people and places appeared and interacted with each other.
 
This big painting is actually made up of dozens of small scenes. (“Winter Landscape with Skaters” is about 77 centimeters (2.5 feet) tall and 132 centimeters (4 feet) wide.) Read the “Fast Facts” to see if you can spot a few!
“Winter Landscape with Skaters” is a community portrait packed with individual scenes. Use our zoom feature (+ button) to see if you can spot these details:
  • little girl running to meet her father
  • skates with curled-up toes (a sign of luxury and wealth)
  • men carrying long fishing poles for ice-fishing
  • crows eating the rotting carcass of a cow
  • man who fell face-down on the ice
  • horse-drawn sledges (horses had to have special, sharp winter shoes in order to navigate the ice without slipping!)
  • richly dressed women ignoring a poor beggar
  • the artist’s signature (HAenricus Av)
  • man sitting down to put on his skates
  • man carrying a sheath of winter wheat
  • boy in a sledge pushed by his mother
  • onion-shaped dome of a church or town hall
  • man hacking a hole in the ice for ice-fishing
  • four men holding each other’s waists in a “line” of skaters
  • Dutch flag
  • people playing kolf—a popular combination of hockey and golf
  • fishing net hung up for the winter season
  • boat seeming to “sail” across the ice (based on a real Dutch vessel!)
  • someone’s bare bottom!
canal
Noun

artificial waterway.

canvas
Noun

heavy, woven cloth.

community
Noun

group of organisms or a social group interacting in a specific region under similar environmental conditions.

deaf
Adjective

unable to hear.

depict
Verb

to illustrate or show.

dozen
Noun

a group of 12.

Dutch
Adjective

coming from or having to do with the Netherlands (Holland).

flourish
Verb

to thrive or be successful.

Noun

thin coat of ice covering objects when the dew point is below freezing.

illusion
Noun

plan or occurrence that creates a false belief.

interact
Verb

to work with or meet.

Noun

the geographic features of a region.

mingle
Verb

to mix or combine with.

mute
Noun

person who doesn't speak.

precise
Adjective

exact.

slice-of-life
Phrase

natural or real representation of everyday experiences.

specialize
Verb

to study, work, or take an interest in one area of a larger field of ideas.

technique
Noun

method of doing something.

trade
Noun

buying, selling, or exchanging of goods and services.