Mute from birth, Avercamp was known by contemporaries as ‘de stomme van Kampen’ after the town which he moved to in 1613, and where he remained for the rest of his life. He probably undertook his artistic training in Amsterdam with Pieter Isaacsz., a Dane who had settled in the Netherlands, although since he rarely dated his works it is difficult to build up a firm picture of his later development. Alongside his popular paintings of crowded, lively winter scenes, he executed a number of highly finished coloured drawings which were sold as independent works of art. His nephew Barent Avercamp studied with him and later worked in a similar style.
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