Tuesday, January 28, 2020

A California Nod to Real Winter --- Day 8/295

Walk: Hard Hat Tour of New SF Park, Hood
Distance: 3.5 Miles

Pieter Breugel (the Elder), Hunters in the Snow (January), 1565, oil on wood panel

Ciwt can do no better than Wikipedia in telling you about the iconic Hunters in the Snow (January), probably the most popular subject of all secular Christmas cards.

This painting is an example of the Northern Renaissance movement. The work is one in a series of six works, five of which still survive, that depict different times of the year. 

The painting shows a wintry scene in which three hunters are returning from a hunting expedition accompanied by their dogs. By appearances, the expedition was not successful: the hunters appear to trudge wearily, and the dogs appear downtrodden and miserable. One hunter carries the "meagre corpse of a fox" illustrating the paucity of the hunt. 

The whole visual impression is one of a calm, cold, overcast, day: the colours are muted whites and grays, the trees are bare of leaves, woodsmoke hangs in the air. The landscape itself is a flat-bottomed valley (a river meanders through it) with jagged peaks visible on the far side. A watermill is seen with its wheel frozen stiff*. In the distance, figures ice skate and curl on a freezing lake they appear as silhouetttes.

* Where is that windmill?  Ciwt doesn't see it.

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