European Art

An Old Dutch Skating Painting

Nicolas Baur, “The Women’s Speed-Skating Race on the Westersingel in Leeuwarden, January 21, 1809″, 1810, oil on canvas, 23 ½” x 29 ½”, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Photo from Lawrence Steigrad Fine Arts (

I found this 19th-century Dutch skating picture in this month’s The Magazine Antiques article about Lawrence Steigrad Fine Arts, who just sold this work to the Rijksmuseum. The acquisition is so recent that the Rijksmuseum does not yet have an image of the painting on its website, but it does provide this interesting anecdote about the real-life skating race depicted.

“At a women’s skating race in Leeuwarden in 1809, the crowd watched sixty-four unmarried women vie for a gold cap-brooch. The winner was Houkje Gerrits Bouma. For greater ease, many had thrown off their cloaks. Baur painted the finalists with bare arms, a jettisoned cloak on the ice. It left little to men’s imagination and caused an outcry; therefore it was the last women’s race for many years.” (Source: Rijksmuseum collection database.)

I also found this seventeenth-century skating painting by Hendrick Avercamp on the Rijksmuseum’s website. If you’re looking for ice skating art, I guess a museum in Holland is a pretty good place to look.

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