Wonderful winter week
Winter landscape, circa 1630, Hendrick Avercamp
Winter was fun in the 1630s based on a painting by a Dutch artist who specialized in snow scenes. They had no central heating or modern thermal clothing, the bubonic plague was still full, and hunger was a threat – but the people in this picture could not be less worried. They are too busy enjoying the ice, the vastness of which is crowded with those looking for fun. There is even a game of ice golf. Avercamp places it all in a mysterious pale world of frozen whites and misty yellows. His art of winter reflects a period known as the Little Ice Age when temperatures in Europe plummeted, and scenes like this also took place on the River Thames.
• Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh.
It is also displayed
Frosty Morning, 1813, JMW Turner
A man and a girl stop to watch the workers on the icy road, while the other person comes in a cold lane towards them. The earth is a heavy shining mystery. The morning light reveals a terrible coldness in the atmosphere. Turner makes us see the beauty and bitterness of the village in winter.
• Tate Britain, London.
Lavacourt Under the Snow, circa 1878-81, Claude Monet
Winter is truly a wonderful land in Monet’s shining eyes. Alive before the fleeting impressions of light, he rejoices in the blue snowy foreground giving way to the golden glitter of the icy sky.
• National Gallery, London.
Massacre of the Innocents, circa 1565-67, Pieter Bruegel the Elder
The first artist to show the wonder of winter was Bruegel – but in this snow-covered village where soldiers arrived to slaughter newborns by order of King Herod, there was not much skating. Rudolf II, who owned this, painted much of the violence – perhaps so he could sit and enjoy the snow.
• Royal Collection, Windsor Castle.
Winter, 1643, by Wenceslaus Hollar
Not the good King Wenceslas of the College, but the artist who bore his name – and whose vision of a winter day in 17th-century London is surprisingly sensual and harrowing. Who was this masked woman spotted on Cheapside in fine winter clothes while roundheads and cavaliers struggled with her? Hollar is so thrilled that he forgets the cold.
• British Museum, London.
Picture of the week
The three kings who followed the star to the child Jesus came carrying gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh. But one of them, Balthasar, caused a revolution in art at the dawn of the Renaissance when its color began to be accentuated as black. In fact, the trumpeted, joyful festive theme of “worship” inspired some of the richest depictions of blacks in European art. Read more here.
What we learned
We entered the fort of the new library of the Lambeth Palace
The National Gallery of the Victoria Triennial deals with heart and head
Petri dishes are a place where art meets science …
… and protest graffiti is being preserved
The terrifying turkey was among the Guardian’s favorite illustrations of the year
Albrecht Dürer may not have written Lament to Luther
The punk-art archive of Barney Bubbles is now in the public domain
Architectural beauty is the subject of Trump’s latest executive order
Teenager Clayton Anderson escaped with a circus from the 80s and took a camera
Brice Dossin recorded Christmas in Goa
British photographer Daniel Freeman has toured 22 U.S. states to capture nightlife
Chinchillas, giraffes and salamanders won big prizes at the Photography of the Year in Nature competition
President Trump wants to make America architecturally beautiful again
Do not forget
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