Winter’s Last Song

Spring has come with the confidence of youth, waking a sleeping earth with warmth and a gentle rain. Deep within the soil, seeds and bulbs felt the energy of a new season and responded with bursts of colour, transforming the landscape. First came the crocuses, daffodils and snowdrops, then the tulips, and now the cherry blossoms.

Winter has slipped away for a time, but I hear Winter’s last song through the lens of artists who cherished the season that gave us warmth by a fire, long evenings of rest, and fun winter activities that persuaded us that cold was not really that cold.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, “Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap (Public Domain)
Pieter Bruegel the Elder – Hunters in the Snow (Public Domain)

The Brueghel Family, (also spelled Bruegel or Breughel) dominated art in Flanders throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. Their family tree included the who’s who of artists, including Pieter, elder and younger, Jan Brueghel the Younger, Jan Pieter Brueghel, Abraham Brueghel, Philips Brueghel, Ferdinand Brueghel, Jan Baptist Brueghel. Well, you get the idea. The Brueghel family produced the largest number of major painters of all Flemish families.

Claude Monet, 1875 Train in the Snow (Public Domain)

Whenever I view this painting, I remember the Northern Manitoba train trips taken in the middle of winter. Watching the passing scene of snow covered trees interspersed with jagged rock formations and rushing rivers remains as clear in mind as if it all happened yesterday.

Thomas P. Barnett, 1925 “In the Heart of the Ozarks” (Public Domain)

Crossing the Atlantic to St. Louis Missouri, Thomas P. Barnett (1870 –1929), was recognized for his architecture and painting. His architect brilliance is displayed in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, Texas, and the Saint Clement Catholic Church in Chicago. He turned to painting in later life with great success. Which remind us that creativity is a life-long journey.

Farewell Winter. Until we meet again…

22 Comments »

  1. Thank you for your wonderful paintings and fine farewell words at the end of winter. Yes, the flowers are everywhere, all the fruit trees in the flower, including gorse and phlox. Working in the garden, chopping, watering plants, happy time in the garden despite Covid-19. All the best, stay awake!

    • Wir leben in interessanten und komplexen Zeiten. Ich stimme zu, dass wir weiterhin das Leben einen Tag nach dem anderen genießen müssen. Dies ist die Zeit, kreativ zu sein, in unseren Gärten zu sein, Musik zu hören, freundlich zueinander zu sein. Vielen Dank, dass Sie Ihren schönen Garten mit mir teilen. Ich genieße immer unsere Gespräche.

  2. Here next to the Great Lakes, Winter is like a guest who has overstayed its welcome. I’ve seen a few daffodils and the trees are budding, so there is hope 🙂 In due time, about 6 months from now, I’ll welcome Winter back again. Thank you for bringing Spring to us through your writing, photos and spotlighted artists!

    • My family in Edmonton is experiencing the same wonderful winter weather. My next thought is to look at how artists captured houses and interiors. This came to me when I was looking at the way Vincent Van Gogh painted his famous scene in the Yellow House. But I’m finding that there are many paintings that speak of the idea of home. Looking forward to this jaunt through art history. Hugs!

  3. Yes, winter is gone for a season, and spring is here. It is a good feeling. I did see a weather forecast saying we might have a little snow in a couple of days, we will see! I love the paintings you have chosen, I especially looked at the train painting my Claude Monet for a long minute. He is my favorite and I could not help but remember the train in Northern Manitoba. It was a good memory! ! ! Now, I look out on a warm, sunny spring morning. We have the four seasons in British Columbia and the change of seasons is delightful. You will remember that in Brazil, there were only two–the dry season and the rainy season.

    • Oh, I do remember the rainy and dry season in Brazil. I remember asking what snow was like. I could not imagine what it was like to be surrounded by cold. Those were wonderful years. Thank you for making them so special.

    • Winter loves your part of the world and wants to remain. But spring is a determined adversary and winter will realize that life moves on, even for seasons. But the GOT quote is always a reminder: “Winter is Coming.”

  4. Wonderful essay and wonderful display of art, Rebecca! The Brueghel family was amazing, the Monet painting reminds me of Zola’s riveting train-themed novel “The Beast in Man,” and I’m impressed with Barnett’s later-in-life career addition. Sort of like Melville and Thomas Hardy each taking up poetry during their last decades. Thanks for the evocative post!

    • You have the best insights on how to link ideas. My stack of books for 2020 is close to tumbling over. Isn’t it interesting how art, writing, poetry, music enhance our ability to live within a wholistic mindset. Thank you for your comments and visit.

  5. Wow! What an accomplished and prolific artistic family … thank you for introducing to the works of the Brueghel Family! I love the Monet and his train in the winter scene, the chill is palpable and the frosty air vivid! Such incredible atmosphere! Here’s to creativity across one’s whole life – such a positive and hopeful thought to start the weekend! Wishing you and yours well, my dear friend! Hugs xx ❤️

    • Thank you so much for your visit, Annika! I have been giving a consider amount of thought to how creativity impacts our thought process. We know that it builds resilience. I believe that it is when we connect with others that our creativity experiences exponential possibilities. Trying to decipher the Brueghel Family Tree is like taking on a mammoth jigsaw puzzle.

      • Hi Rebecca, I just saw your idea for a post about interior of houses as depicted by artists and thinks that’s an inspired idea! Carl Larsson featured his whole home in his paintings and I wrote a series of three posts about these in March 2018. Here is a link to one post https://annikaperry.com/2018/03/23/ett-hem/ I look forward to your selection of artwork and wish you a beautiful Sunday! Weather wise it has been the warmest and sunniest I’ve ever known … thank goodness we live so close to the countryside and a wood … the hours allowed exercise is a true tonic. Hugs xx

      • Oh, these are marvelous posts – I will be linking back on them in a future. Carl Larsson beautifully illustrated the joy of living in a home that was full of activities. I am going to enjoy getting to know this amazing painter. Thank you for the introduction. Wishing you a special Sunday. Enjoy those precious walks in nature. Hugs and more hugs!

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