Thursday, February 11, 2010

Little Ice Age

I know right now it's Snowpocalypse in the U.S. The New York Times used the word "Epic" in its headline to describe the first storm that hit DC. I heard someone call this second round "snoverkill".

It's also the coldest winter in Europe is 20 or maybe 30 years. While we haven't had two feet of snow, for Danes, it's Snowpocalypse here too. The snow on the side of the roads in Århus reminds me of home: it's dirty because it hasn't gotten warm enough for the snow to melt. In Amsterdam too it was pretty cold -- it snowed several of the days I was there -- though not as cold as in Århus.

At the (much scaled down) Rijksmuseum I saw an exhibit of an earlier cool period: Hendrick Avercamp's The Little Ice Age in the 17th century. Avercamp specialized in showing people frolicking in the Dutch winter.

Winterlandschap met schaatsers. circa 1608. Rijksmuseum.


My American blog readers, this exhibit closes at the Rijksmuseum soon but it will then travel to National Gallery of Art in Washington DC starting March 31.

Near the Rijksmuseum is an ice skating rink which apparently isn't open, or at least it wasn't at 10am the morning I went. What I saw there evoked the same playfulness as Avercamp's paintings. The ice rink wasn't open but the fence did not close off the space. An old man walking his dog first walked around the perimeter of the ice rink. Then the man and the dog stepped onto the ice rink. The man threw snowballs across the ice and his little dog chased after them. It was delightful to watch man, dog, and ice.

No comments: