Aert van der Neer, Skating scene with colf players

Skating scene with colf players: figures on a river flowing through a village. Aert van der Neer (or imitator; 1603 - 1677)

This view along a frozen Dutch river is by an imitator of Aert van der Neer. The scene is full of activity, with people fishing, skating and playing colf, an early Dutch form of golf. On the left a small boat is icebound. A man waves for help after slipping on the frozen bank of a canal that runs alongside the river to the left. The work successfully emulates Neer's method of suggesting bitter cold by means of a restricted palette of ice blue, grey, brown, black and white, but apart from this and its subject matter it fails to look like Neer, especially in the treatment of figures and sky. Neer was inspired by the subject matter and composition of Flemish winter scenes, such as those of Hendrick Avercamp (1585-1634), and his restricted palette appears to have been influenced by the 'tonal' style that began to spread from Haarlem in the 1620s and 1630s.

Oil on canvas. Unframed: 52.3cm x 73cm; framed: 68.9cm x 92.1cm

Manchester Art Gallery (1979.480), Manchester, UK. Bequeathed by Mr and Mrs Assheton-Bennett

Source: Do Smit