The Four Seasons, c. 1600
ink, wash on paper
14.7 x 29.4 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with the assistance of the Women's Committee
This lively preparatory study for a painting by the influential Dutch artist Abraham Bloemaert of Utrecht, depicts the four figures representing the Allegories of the Four Seasons, a popular subject in seventeenth-century northern and French painting. Bloemaert makes the most of twisting and elongated forms of the Mannerist style in this figural composition. Spring is a young woman with spade and fresh foliage in hand. Summer wears a wide-brimmed hat and holds a sickle while leaning on a thick sheaf of grain. Autumn, associated with the vine, presents a generous bundle of ripe grapes. Winter, a figure more heavily clad than the rest, has a steady stream of raindrops extending from his hand while bracing against the cold north wind. Bloemaert trained in Utrecht where he was one of the founders of the painters’ guild, following which he travelled to Paris in 1581 where he was exposed to the work of the School of Fontainebleau.
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