Pieter van Mase was an incredibly versatile 2nd half 17th century painter from Rotterdam. Many of his paintings go hidden under attributions to better-known contemporary Dutch artists.
N. Europe knew a small ice age between the middle of the 16th and the middle of the 19th century. No wonder that this many Dutch 17th century ice skating scenes were painted.
About Pieter van Mase
Circa 1650 – 1703/1723
Active in Rotterdam during the second half of the 17th century. He was last mentioned in 1703 (valuing an estate in The Hague).
Dated works known between 1671 and 1703.
His last name is sometimes spelt van Maas, Maasis, Maes or Maesis.
Although working at a time were painting got more and more specialised, with painters active in just one or maybe two different domains, van Mase seems to have been marvellously old fashioned. He did not restrain himself to just painting the same subject(s) for the rest of his life. Van Mase painted a very diverse range of subjects at a very descent level of quality.
In a market where names can be more important than the sheer quality of painting it is not surprising that his paintings over the past years turned out to have been attributed to several well and better known contemporary painters.
He painted :
- Italianate and Levantine harbour scenes, related to Johannes Lingelbach (1622 – 1674), to Thomas Wijck (1616/24 – 1677), to Jan Baptist Weenix (1621 – 1663) and to Hendrick van Minderhout (1632 – 1696).
- Rhine river views, related to Herman Saftleven II (1609 – 1685).
- Italianate market scenes, related to Hendrick Mommers (circa 1623 – 1693).
- Dutch summer village feasts and winter views with ice skaters, reminding of Claes Molenaer and of Thomas Heeremans (1641 – 1697).
- Dutch beach scenes, reminding of Jan van Goyen (1596 – 1656) and of Claes Molenaer (before 1630 – 1676).
- Fish still lifes, like Abraham van Beyeren (1620/21 – 1690) and Isaac van Duynen (1628 – 1679/81).
- Birds and chickens in park landscapes, typical of Melchior de Hondecoeter (1636 – 1695).
Pieter van Mase was also active as staffage painter, including figures in paintings from colleagues. We know for example of two paintings by Jan Sonjé holding numerous figures by van Mase : one is in Ouwater, in the old catholic rectory, the other one we sold in 2006 (the pool of Bethesda).
Jan Gabrielsz. Sonjé was a Dutch landscape painter (Delft circa 1625 – 1707 Rotterdam?), a pupil of Adam Pynacker. Sonjé left Delft in 1654, probably after the huge explosion of its powder-magazine, for Rotterdam.
In 1678, 1686 and 1692 he was Dean of the Guild of Saint Luke in Rotterdam. In 1668 he lived in Dordrecht.
Pieter’s brother, Gerrit, was also active as painter in Rotterdam.
About 17th century Dutch winters
North-Western Europe went through a small ice age from circa 1550 until the middle of the 19th century.
Two thirds of the winters in Holland between 1600 and 1700 were very cold with long periods of frost and snow. Especially the winters of 1662-63 and of 1671-72 were very cold; January 1684 must have been the coldest month of that century.
About our painting
Pieter van Mase’s winter landscapes with ice skaters were strongly influenced by two painters from Haarlem, by Claes Molenaer (before 1630 – 1676) and by Thomas Heeremans (1641 – 1697). Another Rotterdam painter who had also been inspired by their winter landscapes, maybe through the works of our van Mase, was Rutger Verburgh (1678 – 1727).
Typical of our painter is his use of a very low viewpoint.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it is such a beautiful, gentle winter scene, with very clear, light colours.
Because the composition, the viewpoint is very well thought: the small bridge in the foreground, the towering windmill just off the centre and the frozen river running to the left along the village.