Hendrick Avercamp

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Hendrick Avercamp

Hendrick Avercamp (* 1585 in Amsterdam ; † May 15, 1634 in Kampen ) was a Dutch painter.


Hendrick Avercamp was born in Amsterdam in a house next to the Nieuwe Kerk ("New Church") and was baptized on January 27, 1585 in the Oude Kerk ("Old Church"). In 1586 the family moved to Kampen, where the father opened a pharmacy. On his mother's side he was a grandson of the scholar Petrus Meerhoutanus . Probably because of a congenital deafness, he never learned to speak. He received lessons in writing from his mother , but it soon became apparent that he could express his feelings even better with his talent for drawing. He is also often referred to as " the mute from Kampen " (de Stomme van Kampen).

From the age of twelve he received lessons from a poor drawing teacher who fell victim to a plague epidemic at an early age. At the age of about 18 Avercamp moved to Amsterdam, where he was apprenticed to the Danish painter Pieter Isaacsz . The influence of the Flemish School, in particular the landscape painter Gillis van Coninxloo, can also be felt at Avercamp.

In 1614 Avercamp returned to Kampen, where he lived and worked until his death in 1634. In his later years he taught his nephew Barent Avercamp , who also mostly painted winter landscapes.


From 1614 to 1634, Avercamp mainly created a variety of winter landscapes. The early landscapes of Avercamp are predominantly reporting in nature. His pictures are colorful and lively and are characterized by their popularity, which is why he was able to sell many of his drawings, some of which were later colored with watercolors.

Winterlandschap met ijsvermaak (Winter Landscape) , c. 1608, 78 × 132 cm, Rijksmuseum , Amsterdam
IJsvermaak ("Ice Cream Pleasure")

Avercamp probably painted in his workshop from sketches he had made over the winter. His preference for winter scenes may have come from his youth, when he often went ice skating with his parents . His pictures often depict a large number of people indulging in winter pleasures, especially ice skating. The last quarter of the 16th century , during which Avercamp was born, is considered to be one of the coldest periods of the so-called Little Ice Age .

The Flemish influence is particularly evident in his early work, in which he also borrowed from Pieter Bruegel the Elder . Typically his pictures have a high and wide horizon and show a large number of busy people, with a number of stories and anecdotes hidden in the pictures. He mainly used painting techniques such as the “atmospheric perspective” (see also aerial perspective ), which suggests spatial depth by changing the color near the horizon. He also often used a repoussoir : objects are painted on the painting, for example trees or a boat. This technique enhances the impression of depth in the painting.

Avercamp also painted paintings on paper, which, when framed, were a cheap alternative to oil paintings. A drawing was first made with pen and ink. This was then covered with paint, whereby the contours of the drawing were retained. With this technique Avercamp was able to depict the pale winter colors and the nuances of the ice.

Many of his pictures are now in private hands. Around one hundred paintings by Avercamp can be seen in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Mauritshuis in The Hague, the Stedelijk Museum Zwolle, the Stedelijk Museum Kampen and abroad. In the Rijksmuseum from November 20, 2009 to February 15, 2010 an exhibition of his work took place under the title "IJspret". An important collection is currently in Windsor Castle .


In the tradition of Hendrick Avercamp's Winter Views, his successors Jan van Goyen , Aert van der Neer and Jan van de Capelle painted .


In 2016 the asteroid (12646) Avercamp was named after him.

Some of his works by year of origin


  • 2009: The Little Ice Age , Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, then in 2010: National Gallery , Washington, DC , USA.
  • 1982: Hendrick Avercamp and Barent Avercamp. Frozen Silence: Paintings from Museums and Private Collections , Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.


Web links

Commons : Hendrick Avercamp  - collection of images, videos and audio files