Oil on canvas: 53,3 x 61 cm
Monogrammed lower left, datable to the late 1650’s
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The Haarlem painter Jacob van Ruisdael painted during the Baroque style period. Ruisdael was taught by his father Isaak van Ruysdael and probably also by his uncle Salomon, who had become famous for his winter landscapes and river views. Jacob, however, spelled his name with an ‘i’ as ‘Ruisdael’ in contrast to the other members of the artist family. Like the others, he mainly focused on painting landscapes.
Jacob van Ruisdael developed into one of the most important landscape painters of his time. In addition to being a painter, he was also a draftsman and etcher. In addition to landscapes, the artist also painted sea and cityscapes. In 1648 he became a member of the Haarlem guild of painters. In the mid-seventeenth century, Van Ruisdael and Nicolaes Berchem made a journey along the Rhine to Nijmegen and Cleves. There he painted, among other things, the castle of Bentheim. This is where his monumental work takes on its distinctive dramatic character for the first time, through the rendering of the rocky hill on which the castle stands. The artist was inspired by the Scandinavian landscape, which he had seen in the paintings of his contemporary Allaert van Everdingen.
Van Ruisdael’s work had a strong appeal to artists from later centuries. Nineteenth-century artists in particular were inspired by the style and atmosphere in Van Ruisdael’s paintings, such as Cornelius Krieghoff, an artist of the Canadian School, Théodore Rousseau of the French School of Barbizon, and J.H. Weissenbruch of the Hague School. The Dutchman Andreas Schelfhout, the English painter John Constable, both representatives of Romanticism, and the German Andreas Achenbach of the Düsseldorf School were also inspired by the oeuvre of perhaps the most famous Dutch master of landscape. Ruisdael died in 1682 and is buried in his place of birth, in the St. Bavokerk in Haarlem.