10 Snowscapes through Art History to Get You in the Seasonal Spirit

Tokujin Yoshioka, The Snow, 2010. Instagram/tokujinyoshioka

‘Tis officially the season for sleigh rides and snowball fights. Now that we’re past the winter solstice, we’re at the beginning of what is at best a few months of snow-flecked fun and, at worst, a long, slow, rock salt-laden trudge toward spring. Whether you’re dreaming of a white Christmas or fantasizing about flying south for the season, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best snow scenes in art to mark the occasion.

Snow Scene at Argenteuil (1875)
Claude Monet

Claude Monet, Snow Scene at Argenteuil, 1875. Wikimedia Commons

The plein air painter extraordinaire made a slew of snow scenes after a particularly hefty downpour the winter he moved to Argenteuil because, if you’re a real winter warrior, you sit outside in the freezing cold with a paintbrush clutched between frostbitten fingers.

The Hunters in the Snow (1565)
Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Hunters in the Snow, 1565. Wikimedia Commons

Ice skating, excited pups, a roaring fire: this painting by grandaddy of the Dutch Northern Renaissance, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, is as hygge as a winter afternoon gets.

Winter Landscape (1811)
Caspar David Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich, Winter Landscape, 1811. Wikimedia Commons

Winter weather can be fun but it’s also dangerous, kids. Take it from this guy in Friedrich’s painting, who has thrown his crutches down and laid in the snow in front of a crucifix to pray for salvation from the elements.

Night Snow at Kambara (1833–34)
Utagawa Hiroshige

Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, Tokyo (Edo) 1797–1858 Tokyo (Edo), Evening Snow at Kanbara, from the series “Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō.” Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Howard Mansfield Collection, Purchase, Rogers Fund, 1936

Part of the artist’s well-known 53-part woodcut series detailing the scenic views along Tokaido road, this depiction of the quiet mountain village of Kambara under a soft blanket of snow pockmarked by footsteps is winter wishfulness at its best, since it rarely ever snows in this region.

The Four Seasons: Winter (1755)
Francois Boucher

Francois Boucher, The Four Seasons: Winter, 1755. Wikimedia Commons

Created for Louis XV’s mistress Madame de Pompadour, this flirty scene of a Rococo romp in a winter wonderland gives all other dashes through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh a run for their money.

New Snow in the Avenue (1906)
Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch, New Snow in the Avenue, 1906. Munchmuseet – Halvor Bjørgård

Munch may be known for his mastery of misery as evidenced in his iconic The Scream, but there’s no need to feel angsty when you’re on a snowy stroll like this.

In the Wild North (1891)
Ivan Shishkin

Ivan Shishkin, In the Wild North, 1891. Wikimedia Commons

This pine tree is decked out with so much snow it might just break under the weight. Oh tannenbaum!

Snow Melting in Lotus (2011)
Pan Gongkai

Painter Pan Gongkai brought the traditional Chinese art of pen and ink drawing to life for his 2011 work featured in the 54th Venice Biennale, with a corridor covered with lotus sketches onto which a fresh layer of animated letters settled like snow. The exhibition may have been staged in the middle of the Venetian summer, but the artist made sure visitors didn’t miss out on a wintry nip in the air by installing numerous air conditioners to blast cold breezes throughout the installation.

Snow Flurry (1948)
Alexander Calder

While Calder: Monumental at the @DenverBotanic Gardens primarily features outdoor works by the artist, there is a hanging mobile—Snow Flurry, May 14, on loan from the @DenverArtMuseum—installed over the Boettcher Court Pool. • This work is one in a series of mobiles named after the snowstorms at Calder’s home in Roxbury. A sister work, Blizzard, 1946, is currently on view at the @WhitneyMuseum in New York as part of Calder: Hypermobility. • (Image: Snow Flurry, May 14, 1959, Calder: Monumental, Denver Botanic Gardens. Photo: Scott Dressel-Martin. © 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society [ARS], New York) #calder #alexandercalder #calderfoundation #caldermonumental #denverbotanicgardens #denver #colorado #monumentalsculpture #snowflurrymay14

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Calder’s signature mobile structure makes for a pretty show of snow, with little to no accumulation.

The Snow (2010)
Tokujin Yoshioka

Japanese artist and designer Tokujin Yoshioka once said that the most beautiful things in the world are those that can’t be recreated, but he gave it his best shot with The Snow, a 50-foot immersive installation of white feathers intermittently blown into dramatic drifts around visitors.

10 Snowscapes through Art History to Get You in the Seasonal Spirit