Andreas Schelfhout (1787-1870) painted landscapes virtually exclusively, in great detail and many variations, but always using a specific method. Andreas Schelfhout painted in his studio on the basis of a supply of drawings and sketches he produced on location. As a result, Andreas Schelfhout’s works contain identifiable locations, which were in fact all reconstructed in Andreas Schelfhout’s paintings, so never quite matching the reality. This was something of an unconventional method in the Romantic period.
Andreas Schelfhout favoured subjects were Dutch landscapes: beaches, sand dunes, and the reclaimed land behind. However, the inland landscapes of the province of Gelderland are also heavily represented in Andreas Schelfhout’s oeuvre. Typical for Romantic painters, Andreas Schelfhout ‘s prime inspirations were the landscape artists of the Golden Age.
Andreas Schelfhout is considered to be the best of the 19th century masters of frozen landscapes. In his time, winters tended to be much harsher than they are now. Apart from his winter landscapes, Andreas Schelfhout’s also painted many summer forests with lakes, streams, and tiny farms, as well as beach scenes with boats and churning waves. Andreas Schelfhout ‘s landscapes are picture-perfect – he never painted dead and decaying trees or derelict houses, even when they were there. Andreas Schelfhout was one of the best-paid artists of the 19th century, and had excellent connections with the royal family.
The painting by Andreas Schelfhout
Andreas Schelfhout painted a fine day with a gentle wind. And yet, dark clouds loom on the horizon above the city. The ice is bustling with people. To the left, we see people going about their business in the long shadows. On the other side, a woman is walking towards us in the sunlight. In the foreground, a young lad and his dog watch the goings-on. A woman is pushing another woman across the ice on a sledge. On a bench by a tent, men and women sit and stand, enjoying some refreshments. At centre, a couple skate leisurely by, while a man on the right is bringing hay to a horse on the ice. All manner of things people do in a Dutch winter landscape. The dark ice in the shadows is exquisitely painted, with every scratch visible marring the reflections of the scene above. You can practically feel the snow, slush, and ice chippings.