Cultured Wednesday: Isaac van Ostade

Isaac van Ostade didn’t have to travel the world to find his inspiration.


Isaac van Ostade was a 17th-century Dutch painter of peopled landscapes, so to speak: Country scenes, often in winter, fairs and the outsides of inns, but also some interior scenes.  His brother Adrian taught him, and although Isaac died before the age of 30, he still left about 100 paintings.

an inn by a frozen river
An Inn by a Frozen River. between 1640 and 1645.  The featured image shows the same inn and the same frozen river in a slightly different scene.

Isaac was born in Haarlem in the Netherlands, and baptized there on June 2, 1621.  He started studying with his brother Adriaen, but eventually developed his own peculiar style.  Especially noteworthy in his paintings are his broad contrasts of light and shade and the masterly figures of horses, riders, travelers, rustics, quarreling children, dogs, poultry and cattle.  A favorite place is always given to the white horse, which particularly endears him to our girls, as you can probably imagine.

travellers outside an inn 1645
Travelers Outside an Inn (1645)

Alas!, his life was short, albeit not idle:  He painted over 400 paintings!  On October 16, 1649, he died, and was buried in his hometown.  So we will let his paintings speak for themselves.

Entertainment on the Ice (1640-45)  – No white horse in this one!
a frozen lake 1648
A Frozen Lake (1648)
winter landscape 1645
Winter Landscape (1645)

I find it quite interesting how Isaac van Ostade paints the same basic landscape so often, populating it with different people or portraying it in a different season.  In other words, he didn’t have to travel the world to find his inspiration.  Fascinating.

6 comments on “Cultured Wednesday: Isaac van Ostade”

  1. Thank you for remaining patiently but joyfully with your blog project of introducing readers (like, and including, me) to artists who looked close at the ordinary and found it wonderful. I have not heard of van Ostade before but on first acquaintance with him through your blog I feel that he is a worthy companion to the other Dutch masters of the 17th century. And how brightly his light shone in a short life.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Lovely paintings, they take me straight back to my grandparents house as they had some copies of rural scenes by old Dutch masters and I used to really get lost in them.

    Liked by 1 person

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