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Hendrick Avercamp was born in 1585 in Amsterdam but moved to Kampen with his parents when he was just one year old.
Hendrick was nicknamed the Stomme van Kampen because he was deaf and dumb. His mother taught him how to read and write, but drawing suited him much better. Avercamp was apprenticed to a poor draftsman when he was twelve. This poor man died during the plague of 1602 and Hendrick also lost his father and his brother to the plague.
At the age of eighteen, Avercamp moved to an uncle in Amsterdam, where he studied with the Danish-born portrait painter Pieter Isaacks, and most probably also with David Vinckboons. In Amsterdam, Avercamp was introduced to the work of the Flemish painters, including Gillis van Coninxloo and Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
Avercamp's paintings are colorful and vibrant, with carefully crafted depictions of the people in the landscape. He focused on painting ice scenes, as one of the first landscape painters of the 17th century. In 1608 Hendrick moved back to Kampen in the province of Overijssel where he grew up.
He continued to work there until his death in 1634, at the age of 49. Avercamp probably made sketches in the winter which he later worked into a painting in his studio. His winter landscapes are world famous.
The preference for this subject arose during the skating trips, which he made in his youth. The last quarter of the 16th century, when Avercamp was born, was one of the coldest periods of the Little Ice Age.
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