Jan van Goyen executed winter landscapes throughout his career and around one hundred paintings of the theme are known today (see H.-U. Beck, op. cit., pp. 2-52, nos. 1-98A). This is one of the largest examples and is of special interest for its depiction of Schloss Montfoort shown dominating the right side of the picture. Van Goyen's inclusion of such buildings will have evoked a sense of historical pride in the contemporary viewer but only a few of the secular buildings that feature in his compositions are now identifiable. Montfoort appears in two other winter scenes: a tondo, datable to around 1624; and a larger landscape of 1625, last recorded in a sale in Paris in 1954 (ibid., nos. 20 and 28). As well as lending a sense of pride of place, no doubt Van Goyen was also attracted to the compositional possibilities that these buildings afforded; their verticality providing a stark accent against a low horizon and their dark solidity contrasting sharply with the frozen natural landscape. This composition, framed by the castle on the right and some trees, owes much to a type devised ten years earlier for one of Van Goyen's most successful winter scenes - A View of Castle Batestein (ibid., no. 35; private collection). While that picture attests strongly to the art of Van Goyen's teacher, Esaias van de Velde, this work belongs firmly to Van Goyen's 'tonal phase' characterised by the low horizon, monochromatic palette and greater naturalism.