A winter landscape with figures skating on a frozen river oil on copper 47.6 x 63.8cm (18 3/4 x 25 1/8in).
Through his own distinctive representations of rustic scenes, Michau continued the Flemish landscape and genre traditions of Jan Brueghel the Elder, David Teniers the Younger and Pieter Bout. Indeed, the present work shows the influence of the composition rules that Brueghel established at the beginning of the seventeenth century. But more importantly one can also discern here how Michau modified this tradition with a new set of fresh and delicate colours, thus introducing a softer atmosphere, which gives his finest works a more poetical nature.
From the age of nine Theobald Michau was a pupil of Lucas Achtschellinck in Brussels and was received as a Master in that city in 1698. Soon after this he was to establish himself in Antwerp, entering the Guild of Saint Luke in 1710. The fact that the Governor of the Low Countries, Charles of Lorraine, bought ten works by the artist bears testament to the enormous demand for Michau's work there.