Spring is coming. The crocuses have made their appearance, their vibrant colours enhanced by the dark soil that surrounds them. It is a time of transition and rebirth as winter, with poignant graciousness, accepts the warmth of the sun and the earth’s long-anticipated awakening.
In the next series, ChasingART will say a warm farewell to winter, remembering with gratitude this season’s gifts of long evenings of tea and books, of bracing winter walks, of snow and celebrations, and solitude and reflection.
Celebrating winter begins with the Belgian landscape painter, Valerius de Saedeleer (1867–1941). A son of a small businessman of a soda and soap making factory, Valerius de Saedeleer was not content with his employment as an apprentice at a Ghent weaving workshop. Without his parents’ knowledge or permission, he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent. And so began his artistic journey that was to influence modernist trends in Belgian painting and sculpture. His work was guided by what is known as a symbolist and mystic-religious sensitivity as well as giving a nod to the traditions of 16th-century Flemish landscape painting.
What I most appreciate about Valerius de Saedeleer’s winter scenes is the positioning of the trees. Winter allows us to see the beauty of bare branches, the structure that will hold the leaves of spring, summer and autumn. Only in winter do we see the foundation that supports and sustains renewal, growth, and wisdom.