The mirage of snow.
The mirage of snow.

The mirage of snow.

The delicate flowers of spring, the intense sunshine of summer and the shimmering hues of autumn have inspired painters time and again, but the splendour of snow-covered landscapes remains, for some, incomparable.

From Claude Monet to Alexander Calder and Hokusai, artists have long been fascinated by the beauty of winter, the season that covers everything in a white blanket and seems to freeze time. Some even see in each snowflake an intricate design akin to a work of art.

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                                                                                                        The snow…
“Snow soothes everything; it seems to carry silence within it or, rather, that in the space between two flakes, between the flakes, there is silence”
Jon Kalman Stefansson, contemporary Icelandic novelist and poet.

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Alfred Einsenstaedt

The magic of the black-and-white photography, the interplay of the shadows cast across the ground, the magnificent work on light that gives an incredible presence to this tree whose foliage is illuminated by the sun.

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Shirakawa-go in Japan
The great plain is white, motionless and speechless.
Not a sound; all life is extinguished.
But sometimes you can hear something like a dull moan,
Some homeless dog howling at the corner of a wood.

No more songs in the air, no more stubble beneath our feet.
Winter has taken all blossom;
Stripped trees stand on the horizon
Their whitened skeletons like ghosts.

The moon is wide and pale and seems to be hastening.
It seems to be cold in the great austere sky.
Her bleak gaze roams over the earth,
And, seeing all deserted, hastens to leave us.

And cold fall upon us the rays that she casts,
Fantastic gleams she sows;
And the snow glows eerily in the distance,
With strange reflections of pale light.

Oh, what a terrible night it is for little birds!
An icy wind shivers and runs through the alleys;
They, no longer having the shady shelter of cradles,
Cannot sleep on their frozen feet.

In the great bare trees covered with ice
They are there, trembling, with nothing to protect them;
With worried eyes they watch the snow,
Waiting until daylight for the night that does not come.

Guy de Maupassant, Nuit de neige

Snow moon, Sabra Field, born in 1935, is an American painter.

Kyoto Maruyama, spring snow, by Tsuchiya Koitsu, woodcut, private collection.

“With each snowfall a billion worlds rise and melt, snow, water, same spirit”.

                         Komako’s Reverie: Snow Country

(a 1986 woodcut made as a special commission for the Nobel Prize Committee) by Yoshida Tōshi (1911 – 1995), a Japanese printmaking artist most closely associated with the sōsaku- hanga (creative prints) art movement.

Paper dimensions (h × w): 75 × 57 cm. Edition size: 100.

Tōshi was the eldest son of the 20th-century printmaker and landscape painter Yoshida Hiroshi (1876 – 1950), who is generally regarded as one of the greatest artists of the shin-hanga (new prints) style.

His mother, Yoshida Fujio (1887 – 1987), was also a Japanese artist, known for her naturalistic and abstract watercolours, oils and woodcuts; the first female artist in fact among the prestigious Yoshida family of artists.

Tōshi studied oil painting with his father Yoshida Hiroshi and block sculpture with Maeda Yujiro. He graduated in 1935 from the Taiheiyogakai School and travelled extensively in India, Europe and the United States. After the Second World War, he turned to abstract prints for several years, but then returned to realistic interpretations of natural subjects.

Versailles under snow…gardens redesigned by Lenôtre in white

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                                                                             Wrong way by the Iranian  photographer Hossein Zare.
A self-taught photographer, he gives each of his series his own distinctive style, moving from colourful, surrealist works to minimalist black-and-white photographs.

With the help of Photoshop, the artist has created a series that is a metaphorical representation of our journey through life, using strong symbols such as the road, the tree, or the representation of a lonely man.

Through a pared-down aesthetic, combined with very meaningful title choices such as simple suspension points, the artist likens life to a journey towards the Unknown.                                          

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Clear weather after a snowfall at Mount Fuji – Tagonoura Bay.

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                                                                                          Yayoi Kusama, Snow, 1990

The Japanse Yayoi Kusama wears all the hats of contemporary artist, avant-gardist, painter, sculptor and writer. Yes, all of the above! Fascinated by the notion of infinity, the work of this contemporary designer is criss-crossed by points and geometric shapes that repeat themselves tirelessly, forming a fascinating and surprising kaleidoscope. The artist’s very personal vision of snow is a case in point…

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Snowy landscape, Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973), around 1924

Paul Klee, Image d’Hiver, gouache, watercolour, black ink and silver leaf pasted on paper, mounted on card, 31.9 x 48.9 cm. Private collection. Paul Klee’s paintings give rhythm to a season that seems to freeze time. The snowy landscape allowed him to express his style with great freedom. The irregular horizon line and colourful abstract forms are very different from Monet’s horizontal lines. Yet his very personal style translates the winter atmosphere just as well. The artist works on the balance of colours and combines geometric shapes to create analogies with his perception of the world. He transcribes the snow-covered earth, the wintry sky and the leafless trees, playing with proportions, perspective, shadows and light, because, in his words, “art doesn’t reproduce the visible, it makes it visible”.

Alexander Calder, Snow flurry, 1950, (238.7 cm) x (208.8 cm).MoMA New York.

It’s not just figurative canvases that evoke snow, but Alexander Calder’s delicate suspended mobile Snow Flurry is just as original. The American artist composed his motif from white discs of different sizes, which he linked together with wires and thin branches at different levels. With his unique, modernist style, Calder reflects the lightness and sparkle of a snowfall observed from his home in Connecticut.

Together, these works celebrate the beauty of snow and the winter season. The diversity of mediums used by the artists shows that snow is a subject that allows each of them to express their own particular style.

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Christmas dove by Lynn Bywaters

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Salvadore Dali, Rose and butterfly in the snow (Mariposas), 1967, gouache-watercolour-ink on paper.

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A magnificently graphic photo!
“Like a lookout on the prow of a ship
Solitary he stands, watching the future.”

Järvenpää, Finland, @mikkolagerstedt

Girl grasping thorny shrub flowers in a snow-covered landscape, Kay Nielsen (Danish, 1886-1957), pen and black ink and watercolour enhanced with gouache and gum arabic, 24 x 21 cm, private collection.

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Francisco Ruivo

This is my letter to the World
Who never wrote to me –
The simple News dictated by
dictated by Nature –
In her tender Majesty

To Hands I cannot see
Her Message is delivered –
For Her sake – Gentle – fellow citizens –

Tenderly – judge Me

Emily Dickinson

Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Hunters in the Snow, 1565, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, image CCØ

                                                 Hokusai, Teahouse at Koishikawa, morning after a snowfall, 1830-1832.

The great master of Japanese prints, Katsushika Hokusai, best known for his views of lakes, rivers and mountains, also tried his hand at snowy landscapes. Teahouse in Koishikawa, morning after a snowfall, one of the works in his iconic Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji series, depicts a small group of visitors perched on the balcony of a teahouse, while a waitress points to the mountain, visible in the distance.

Hokusai’s composition is skilful: the rectangular porch functions as an “image within an image”, and while the isolated scene of colourful figures initially draws our attention, the waitress’s gesture directs our gaze back to the majestic Mount Fuji and the white mantle of the setting.

Sonja Hinrichsen’s work, Footsteps in the Snow. The snow becomes the support for the work of art.

                                                             The only animate being in Claude Monet’s painting is the magpie.

Like a musical note perched on a staff, the bird resting on its fence undeniably accentuates the silent, icy atmosphere that surrounds it. In this stable, rigorous composition, the Impressionist painter plays with the shadows, the shape and the depth of the snow. It was a very interesting subject for the Impressionists because it allowed them to work with light. The light, which we assume to be white, comes in an infinite variety of shades of green, blue, yellow and pink, because Monet uses the snow as a mirror for the light.

                                                                         Vera Zvygina: Matryoshka de Prada, 2021.

Acrylic, marker and embroidery on canvas 100 x 80. In the innovative work of Artmajeur artist Zvyagina, the matryoshka, dressed in a heavy designer jacket, could perhaps represent a contemporary allegory of winter.

                                                              Snowy atmospheres by Werner Berg. Country life in winter.
The expressionist Werner Berg was also known for his talent as a keen observer. The artist was born in Wuppertal-Elberfeld, Germany, in 1904. In 1930, he moved to the Austrian state of Carinthia, on the border with Slovenia, where he inherited a farm, Rutarhof.

In his life as in his work, Werner Berg sought to “get as close as possible to things”. This approach infuses his many winter representations: expressive canvases and engravings depicting nature frozen in snow and ice – preferably at dusk when the shadows lengthen, in the moonlight or under the effect of an artificial light source. The paintings of farms reflect the solitude and isolation of the region. The figures Berg paints in winter are characterised by their ruggedness, and their every movement seems to be a challenge to the rigours of the climate. Some of his paintings show women on their way to church. The faces and headscarves of the peasant women are reduced to their simplest expression, looking as if they have stepped straight out of an archaic scene.

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Hello December by Scottish painter Sir William Russel Flint

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Black and white photograph by Valentina Krochik

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                                                                             Path in Snow by Eyvind Earle.
This little path in the deep snow makes you want to follow it … to find out what’s hidden in the red house! And what a red house it is!

This American painter’s early work was strictly realistic, but after studying the work of various masters such as Van Gogh, Cézanne and Georgia O’Keefe, he created his own style in the 1940s. He is best known for his work on the backgrounds of Disney animations.

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                                                         Mountain road by Robert LaDuke (born 1961), American painter.

His paintings are based on America in the 1930s-40s. They combine dreams and everyday life and include some form of transport and present the toys that were popular at the time.

                                                                                        Illustration by Qu Lan                                                                                                                    

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  Village in winter, Georges Callaghan. Irish artist born in 1951, specialist in naive art.
You can’t imagine how much I love naive art. ….Miniature with admirable mosaic!
When I saw this lovely painting, I immediately felt soft and fluffy…. and then the image of a little girl wrapped up in a blanket crossed the bridge and I climbed up into this softness.

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Snow at Argenteuil, Claude Monet, 1875.

Hasui Kawase, “Snow At Kiyomizu Hall In Ueno”, 1929

Ginkakyi in the snow by Ray Morimura, 2012

Illustration by Marc Sauco.

He slept on his hands.
On a rock.
On his feet.
On someone else’s feet.

Slept on buses, trains, planes.
Slept on duty.
Slept on the side of the road.
Slept on a bag of apples.

He’s slept in a loo.
In a hayloft.
At the Super Dome.
Slept in a Jaguar and on the bed of a pick-up truck.
Slept in the theatre.
In prison.
On boats.

He’s slept in barracks and once in a castle.
Slept in the rain.
In the hot sun.
On horseback.

He slept on chairs, in churches, in luxury hotels.
He’s slept under foreign roofs all his life.

Now he sleeps underground.
He never stops sleeping.
Like an old king.

Raymond Carver, Sleeping.

Maurice Baquet in snow, photographed by Robert Doisneau, New-York, 1960

Nicolas Roerich “Himalaya. Blue Mountains”, 1939, tempera on canvas. 47 x 79 cm. Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg.

Paul Klee, “Winter landscape” – dominant violet, 1923.

“In the Wild North”, Ivan Shishkin, Russian painter and engraver, 1891, oil on canvas 161 × 118 cm, Kiev Art Gallery, Ukraine.

                                                              Illumination by William H.Hay                                                                     

Tōshi Yoshida, (1911-1995), Japan, 1955, print, coloured woodcut.

Tatsumi Shimura, “Snow”

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The Skating Party (2015) by Canadian graphic artist, designer, printmaker and lithographer Elisabeth Sommerville (born 1947). Lithograph on paper.

Nowy hills in Appenzellerland by Heidi Steinelann

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Snow, Alla Tsank

Shiobara,   Hasui Kawase

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Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow.

Winter whitens the hard path
Your days are prey to the wicked.
The wind bites your gentle hand;
Hatred blows on your joy.

Snow fills the dark furrow.
The light is dimmed…
Close your door to the aquilon!
Close your window to the cloud!

And leave your heart open!
The heart is the holy window.
The misty sun is overcast;
But perhaps God will shine!

Doubt of happiness, mortal fruit;
Doubt of the man full of envy;
Doubt the priest and the altar;
But believe in love, O my life!

Believe in love, always whole,
Always shining under every veil!
In love, firebrand of the hearth!
To love, ray of the stars!

Love, and do not despair.
In your soul, where I sometimes pass,
Where my verses whisper low,
Let each thing in its place.

Faithfulness without boredom,
The peace of high virtue,
And indulgence for others,
Sponge of washed-up faults.

In your mind where everything is beautiful,
Let nothing fall or retreat.
Make your love your torch.
We light ourselves with what burns.

To these demons of enmity
Oppose your serene gentleness,
And reverse in pity
All the hatred they have spewed at you.

Hatred is the winter of the heart.
Pity them! but keep your courage.
Keep your winning smile;
Beautiful rainbow, come out of the storm!

Keep your eternal love.
In winter, does the star extinguish its flame?
God takes nothing from heaven;
Take nothing from your soul!

It is cold
Victor Hugo (1802-1885), Contemplations

Winter scene, Shufu Miyamoto

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Mountain rescue team, Gstaad, Suisse, Alex Waltiggelmann, 1934


“On the way” by Piotr Krzaczkowsk, Śnieżka – Mounts Karkonosze


Koike Hazuky , Japanese illustrator


Kawase Hasui, Saishoin Temple, Hirosaki

          Snow at Miyajima Tomb, July 1929 by Hasui Kawase 

Hasui Kawase’s snow landscapes are the most sought-after of all his works.

Here he pays tribute to the majestic Miyajima tori at Itsukushima shrine, made all the more impressive by the snowy landscape that sets it off to best effect.


Paris, 1944, Lee Miller

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