Winter scene

Jan Steen1650

Skokloster Castle

Skokloster Castle
Skoklosters, Sweden

Signed in monogram JS. Winter scene is one of the earliest known paintings by Steen. With its diagonal composition and silhouetted figures on the ice one can clearly see his early inspirations from paintings such as Isaac van Ostades Winter from 1645. Here, as often seen in other works by Steen and his contemporarys, the activites are being watched by a well dressed couple who occupies a central position in the composition.

The painting was bought on behalf of Carl Gustaf Wrangel by the swedish ambassador Harald Appelbom at an auction in the Hauge on 3 July 1651. During that same auction Appelbom also bought three other paintings by Jan Steen for Wrangel, described as A rich mans kitchen, A poor mans kitchen and Hagar. The first and the second most likely corresponds with the paintings The fat Kitchen (now in private collection) and The lean Kitchen (now in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa). The third one however is more difficult to trace, it is possible that it is the same painting as the one now entitled Hagar in the desert (on the art market 1996).


  • Title: Winter scene
  • Creator: Jan Steen
  • Creator Lifespan: 1626 - 1679
  • Creator Nationality: Dutch
  • Creator Gender: None
  • Creator Death Place: Leyden
  • Creator Birth Place: Leyden
  • Date Created: 1650
  • Location Created: The Hague, the Netherlands
  • artist: Jan Steen
  • Provenance: Carl Gustaf Wrangel (1613 – 76) 1676, Skokloster Castle
  • Physical Dimensions: W 960 mm, H 660 mm
  • Description: Genre scene, Dutch School
  • Artist info: Jan Steen was born in Leiden in 1626. Little can be said with certainty about his early life but he probably got his first education as a painter by Nicolaes Knupfer in Utrecht and later by Adriaen van Ostade, before settling as an assistent to his soon to be father-in-law Jan van Goyen at The Hague in 1648. Steen and his wife Margriet stayed at the Van Goyen house until 1654 when they moved to Delft. There Steen briefly got into the brewering business because of the unstable art market at that time, but with little success. What is often described as Steens most productive years came after his return to Leiden in 1656 and during his stay in Haarlem 1660-70. He then moved back to Leiden again, where he stayed for the rest of his life.
  • Subject Keywords: Winter landscape, Skaters, Winter, Baroque
  • Type: Oil on panel
  • External Link: Skokloster

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