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A Street in Jisp on a Winter's Day
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Abraham Rutgers
Dutch, before 1644
Pen and brown and black ink and brown and grey wash
7 5/8 x 12 1/16 in.
2008.18

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In this image of the small whaling village of Jisp, people chat and stroll before a row of densely packed wooden buildings typical of North Holland in this era. On the frozen canal at right, others play kolf, a cross between hockey and golf. In the distance, the delicate bare branches of the trees create black tracery against the pale sky, their round tops echoing the curve of the bridges below and arc of birds overhead.

Although Rutgers used both copies and his imagination as sources for his drawings, he drew this quintessential Dutch winter genre scene from life. It is one of two drawings the artist did of the same location on different occasions. Rutgers effectively captures the chill of a winter day with crisp pen work, particularly visible in the architectural details, contrasting against the expanse of white paper and gentle grey and brown washes in the sky and bank of snow.

Jisp banned construction of new thatch roofs in 1647 as a precautionary measure. The drawing can therefore be dated before 1664, when a significant fire damaged the city, and likely destroyed any thatched roofs in the city. Close observation also reveals that Rutgers used a slightly different ink to draw the figures on the left than the rest of the drawing, suggesting that he was not satisfied with his original composition and added to it at a later time.