Since we are now in the depths of winter, I thought I would share four of my favourite representations of the season. So tuck up warm, light the fire and draw the curtains and read on.
Casper David Friedrich, ‘Wanderer above the Sea of Fog’ 1818
When I first saw Freidrich’s landscape paintings, I was struck by their dramatic and epic romance. His style is wonderfully represented in his 1818 painting ‘Wanderer above the Sea of Fog’, in which an isolated man with his back to the viewer, contemplates the enormity of nature before him. Here, nature dominates the canvas in all its wintery glory.
Fancisco Goya, ‘The Snowstorm’ 1786
During my A-level Art History course, I was frequently shown Goya’s twisted, weird and sometimes emotional paintings, so it came as a shock to me when I came across this winter scene. Painted shortly after he became the King’s artist in residence, ‘The Snowstorm’ depicts a small group of travellers trudging through the snow; perhaps a snapshot of poverty to encourage his rich patrons to spare a thought about the poor.
Abraham Hondius, ‘Frozen Thames’ 1677
Between the sixteenth century and nineteenth century, London experienced many cold spells, even causing the Thames to freeze over. In this painting the artist captures that extraordinary event. Apparently there were so many arches on London Bridge that they slowed down the flow of the river quite considerably. It was not so unusual, therefore, for the Thames to freeze over. Still, it would have made the daily commute a bit more of an adventure!
Piet Mondrian, ‘The Grey Tree’ 1911
One of Mondrian’s earliest paintings and part of his ‘tree’ series. The painting is a contrast to his modern, colourful pieces. The feel of icey winter consumes the canvas with its spindly branches that twist over each other. The tree is dark and feels bleak; a truly chilling winter painting.
So bring out your bobble hats and scarves and wrap up warm this winter, whether you’re in a gallery or outside!