Winter Scene with Figures Playing Kolf
Aert van der Neer (Dutch, 1603-1677)
On View

Aert van der Neer, a Dutch painter who worked primarily in Amsterdam, specialized in winter scenes and moonlit landscapes. Typical of his mature paintings, this composition is organized around a central body of water, which is bordered on the left by the thatched houses of a village and on the right by a community of cottages. The figures populating the scene endure the harsh weather conditions by participating in the pleasures of seasonal entertainment. Here, several skaters glide across the frozen river while two men enjoy a hearty game of kolf, a popular antecedent of modern golf played on the ice during the winter months.

Despite the lively activity he depicts, the artist is mainly interested in conveying the winter season’s dramatic light and color effects. As such, the tinted light of the setting sun, as it is refracted by the clouds and moist atmosphere and reflects on the neutral landscape, provides the true subject of this enchanting painting.


  • Artist Name: Aert van der Neer (Dutch, 1603-1677)
  • Title: Winter Scene with Figures Playing Kolf
  • Date: 1655-1660
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 22-1/4 x 30-1/2 in. (56.5 x 77.5 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1972.35.P
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

Charles William Mills, 2nd Baron Hillingdon (1865-1919), by descent to;
Arthur Robert Mills, 3rd Baron Hillingdon (1891-1952), Camelford House, Park Lane, Middlesex, by 1891, by descent to;
Charles Hedworth Mills, 4th Baron Hillingdon (1922- ), (Christies, 7 July 1972, lot 18, to);
[Edward Speelman, A.G., Zug, Switzerland, to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

[on loan]

  • New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972-08-30 to 1973-12-19

[on loan]

  • Princeton University Art Museum, 1974-05-02 to 1974-07-17
  • Norton Simon Museum, Selected Paintings at the Norton Simon Museum, 1980, p. 60
  • Bachmann, Fredo, Aert van der Neer; 1603/4-1677, 1982, pp. 22-23
  • Sutton, Peter C., A Guide to Dutch Art in America, 1986, p. 218
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, 1989, p. 66
  • Schulz, Wolfgang, Aert van der Neer, 2002, ill. 22, no. 45 pp. 85, 138
  • Thomson, Duncan, The Skating Minister: The Story Behind the Painting, 2004, pp. 16-17
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 843 p. 344
  • Anthony Speelman, A Tale of Two Monkeys – Adventures in the Art World, 2022, fig. 46 pp. 126-131, p. 127 (ill.)
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Additional Artwork by Artist

Soldiers and Villagers Leaving a Burning Village Aert van der Neer 1637

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