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Hendrick Avercamp

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Hendrick Avercamp was a Dutch painter active around the turn of the 18th century and best known for his winter scenes. He was born in Amsterdam in 1585 and grew up in Kampen, where his family ran an apothecary. The Avercamps were well-educated and prominent citizens in the city. Hendrick received his artistic education from Pieter Isaacks in Amsterdam in 1607, until Isaacks returned to Denmark later that year. In the auction account for the sale of Isaacks’ belongings, Avercamp is called the “De stom van Campen” meaning “the mute of Kampen.” This account is not the only allusion to Avercamp’s disability, and scholars today hypothesize that he was both deaf and nonverbal. While in Amsterdam, he came under the influence of Flemish mannerist landscapists and followers of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. He was in contact with other artists in Amsterdam, including Gillis van Coninxloo III and David Vinckboons, one of whom was probably his teacher. By 1613 Avercamp had moved back to Kampen and lived there, with occasional trips to Amsterdam, until he died in 1634. During his late career, he was isolated, painting primarily winter scenes of frozen rivers and wintertime activities. His Dutch landscapes were a popular patriotic subject among citizens of the recently formed Republic of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Unlike his early work, which is mainly narrative, his later work was atmospheric with subtle graduations of color. He completed his paintings in a studio from watercolor sketches.

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