Cornelis Springer (1817-1891)
The Smithy of Culemborg in Winter Time
Signed and dated 1860
Oil on Panel
9⅞ x 7⅞ inches – 25 x 20 cms
Private Collection, The Netherlands;
Private Collection, UK
Cornelis Springer was the most distinguished Dutch painter of town scenes of the 19th century. He was renowned for his topographical accuracy and detail together with his interest in light and the play of light on architectural surfaces. Springer was an inveterate traveller in search of commissions and subject matter, and he visited Culemborg near Utrecht in 1859. This composition is likely to be a result of that visit, and although historically known as being a smithy it appears likely that it shows an Inn with the landlord standing before the doors to the cellar. It is unlikely that snow would remain on the windowsill of a blacksmith’s forge.
The painting is a prime example of Springer, in 1860, at the height of his powers. His depiction of the brick façade, the open shutters, the panes of glass reflecting the winter light, the wooden supports to the porch, the snow covered road with its scattering of straw all show Springer’s extraordinary technique and facility to capture detail, texture and variation in light.
His works can be found in museums in: Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum; Haarlem; Leiden and Rotterdam.