Landscape with Waterfall

1,500.00 (+ GST = 1,770.00)

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Jacob van Ruisdael | c. 1660

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Landscape with Waterfall (c. 1660s) is an oil on canvas painting by the Dutch landscape painter Jacob van Ruisdael.

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Landscape with Waterfall (Full title – A Waterfall in a Rocky Landscape, c. 1660s) is an oil on canvas painting by the Dutch landscape painter Jacob van Ruisdael. It is an example of Dutch Golden Age painting and is now in the collection of the Amsterdam Museum, on loan to the Rijksmuseum.

This excellent picture, in addition to its being one of the largest works of the artist, is singularly grand and rich in its composition, combined with unusual clearness and brilliancy of colouring and the most masterly execution, justly entitling it to the appellation of a chef d’oeuvre.

The composition is dominated by gnarled trees, barren tree trunks, and roiling water. The tiny figures in this grand landscape with a rushing waterfall are almost lost. The dramatic cycle of nature’s birth and decay is almost tangible. A church tower rises up in the distance like a beacon of peace. The tall chimneys of the house hidden among the trees seem the most stable things in van Ruisdael’s picture, holding on to the steep hillside that slides down towards the river. The slender trunks of the birch trees on the right are twisted and crooked, and the leaves turning yellow are ready to fall and be swept away by the water.

Van Ruisdael painted many views of waterfalls. For some time it was assumed that he must have visited a more mountainous country than Holland to give him such an abundant source for these pictures, although no record of such a journey has been found. But his friend Allart van Everdingen had been to Scandinavia and returned with drawings of the craggy mountains and waterfalls that became a source for van Ruisdael’s dramatic images.


Jacob van Ruisdael (1628-1682)

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About the Artist

Jacob van Ruisdael was one of the most famous landscape painters of 17th-century Holland, and the foremost exponent of the classical phase of Dutch landscape painting. He was able to create a poetic and sometimes brooding or tragic mood in his landscapes.

Ruisdael was born in Haarlem, the son of a little known painter, Isaack Jacobsz. van Ruisdael, who was also a dealer and frame-maker. He probably trained with his uncle Salomon van Ruysdael, and in 1648 became a member of the Haarlem painters’ guild. Around 1650 he travelled to the hilly area around Bentheim across the German border.

From the late 1650s he also painted waterfalls based on the work of Allart van Everdingen, who had travelled in Scandinavia. By 1657 Ruisdael had settled in Amsterdam and in his later years is said to have also practised as a physician there. He was buried in Haarlem.


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