By this time landscape paintings were as popular as history paintings in Dutch households, though at the time of Ruisdael’s birth, history paintings appeared far more
It does feature in his only known architectural subject, a drawing of the interior of the Old Church, as well as in views of the Dam, and the Panoramic view of the Amstel
looking toward Amsterdam, one of Ruisdael’s last paintings.
 Finally, fraudsters imitated Ruisdaels for financial gain, with the earliest case reported by Houbraken in 1718: a certain Jan Griffier the Elder could imitate Ruisdael’s
style so well that he often passed them off as genuine Ruisdaels, especially with figurines added in the style of the artist Wouwerman.
 Middle period The Jewish Cemetery (c. 1654–55) Following Ruisdael’s trip to Germany, his landscapes took on a more heroic character, with forms becoming larger
and more prominent.
 While Amsterdam does feature in his work, it does so relatively rarely given that Ruisdael lived there for over 25 years.
[I] On his trip to Germany, Ruisdael encountered water mills which he turned into a principal subject for painting, the first artist to ever do so.
He is generally considered the pre-eminent landscape painter of the Dutch Golden Age, a period of great wealth and cultural achievement when Dutch painting became highly popular.
 Jonathan Israel, in his study of the Dutch Republic, calls the period between 1647 and 1672 the third phase of Dutch Golden Age art, in which wealthy merchants wanted
large, opulent and refined paintings, and civic leaders filled their town halls with grand displays containing republican messages.
 Context According to some, Ruisdael and his art should not be considered apart from the context of the incredible wealth and significant changes to the land that occurred
during the Dutch Golden Age.
 There are three main reasons why there is uncertainty over whose hand painted various Ruisdael-style landscapes.
 Interpretation Waterfall in a Mountainous Landscape with a Ruined Castle (c. 1665–1670) There are no 17th-century documents to indicate, either at first or
second hand, what Ruisdael intended to convey through his art.
 As well, ordinary middle class Dutch people began buying art for the first time, creating a high demand for paintings of all kinds.
The number of painters in the family, and the multiple spellings of the Van Ruisdael name, have hampered attempts to document his life and attribute his works.
In his study on 17th-century Dutch art and culture, Simon Schama remarks that “it can never be overemphasized that the period between 1550 and 1650, when the political identity
of an independent Netherlands nation was being established, was also a time of dramatic physical alteration of its landscape”.
Januszczak does not consider Ruisdael the greatest landscape artist of all time, but is especially impressed by his works as a teenager: “a prodigy whom we should rank at
number 8 or 9 on the Mozart scale”.
 The Ruisdael expert Seymour Slive argues that the spelling “uij” is not consistent with Ruisdael’s own spelling of his name, that his unusually high production suggests
there was little time to study medicine, and that there is no indication in any of his art that he visited northern France.
Dutch landscape painters “were called upon to make a portrait of their homeland, twice rewon by the Dutch people – first from the sea and later from foreign invaders”.
[L] Under the master’s direction, studio members would specialise in parts of a painting, such as figures in landscapes, or costumes in portraits and history paintings.
 All thirteen known Ruisdael etchings come from his early period, with the first one dated 1646.
The paintings are often dominated by Saint Bavo’s Church, in which Ruisdael would one day be buried.
 John Ruskin however, in 1860, raged against Ruisdael and other Dutch Golden Age landscapists, calling their landscapes places where “we lose not only all faith in religion
but all remembrance of it”.
He states that landscape painting does conform to Calvin’s requirement that only what is visible may be depicted in art, and that landscape paintings such as those of Ruisdael
have an epistemological value which provides further support for their use within Reformed Churches.
 However, he thought Jewish Cemetery was a failure, because he considered that it attempted to convey something outside the reach of art.
 Work Early years Dune Landscape (1646) Ruisdael’s work from c. 1646 to the early 1650s, when he was living in Haarlem, is characterised by simple motifs and careful
and laborious study of nature: dunes, woods, and atmospheric effects.
 Turner made many copies of Ruisdaels and even painted fantasy views of a nonexistent port he called Port Ruysdael.
Ruisdael shaped landscape painting traditions worldwide, from the English Romantics to the Barbizon school in France, and the Hudson River School in the US, and influenced
generations of Dutch landscape artists.
— The Guardian art critic Waldemar Januszczak Ruisdael is now seen as the leading artist of the “classical” phase in Dutch landscape art, which built upon the realism
of the previous “tonal” phase.
 Although many of Ruisdael’s works were on show in the Art Treasures Exhibition, Manchester 1857, and various other grand exhibitions across the world since, it was not
until 1981 that an exhibition was solely dedicated to him.
From 1646 he painted Dutch countryside scenes of remarkable quality for a young man.
 Though convincingly realistic, they are based on previous art works, rather than on direct experience.
 View of Haarlem with Bleaching Fields (c. 1665) Slive finds it appropriate that a windmill is the subject of one of Ruisdael’s most famous works.
 Legacy Landscape with Windmills near Haarlem (1651) by Jacob van Ruisdael Landscape with Windmills near Haarlem (1830) by John Constable Ruisdael has shaped landscape
painting traditions from the English Romantics to the Barbizon school in France, and the Hudson River School in the US, as well as generations of Dutch landscape artists.
 Dating subsequent work has therefore been largely based on detective work and speculation.
The theme of an overwhelming sky and a distant town, in this case the birthplace of his father, is one he returned to in his later years.
According to Houbraken, whose short biography does contain a few errors, this was “to reserve time to serve his old father”.
 The resulting heroic effect is enhanced by the large size of the canvas, “so unexpected in the work of an inexperienced painter” according to Irina Sokolova, curator
at the Hermitage Museum.
The art historian Wolfgang Stechow identified thirteen themes within the Dutch Golden Age landscape genre, and Ruisdael’s work encompasses all but two of them, excelling at
most: forests, rivers, dunes and country roads, panoramas, imaginary landscapes, Scandinavian waterfalls, marines, beachscapes, winter scenes, town views, and nocturnes.
 In the 19th century, Vincent van Gogh acknowledged Ruisdael as a major influence, calling him sublime, but at the same time saying it would be a mistake to try to copy
 Andrew Graham-Dixon fancifully asserts all Dutch Golden Age landscapists could not help but search everywhere for meaning.
 For unknown reasons, Ruisdael almost entirely stopped dating his work from 1653.
 An exemplar of Ruisdael’s early style is Dune Landscape, one of the earliest works, dated 1646.
 Perhaps Ruisdael’s work can be interpreted according to the religious world view of his time: nature serves as the “first book” of God, both because of its inherent
divine qualities and because of God’s obvious concern for man and the world.
 Archival records of the 17th century show the name “Jacobus Ruijsdael” on a list of Amsterdam doctors, albeit crossed out, with the added remark that he earned his medical
degree on 15 October 1676 in Caen, northern France.
Only five works from the 1660s have a, partially obscured, year next to his signature; none from the 1670s and 1680s have a date.
In his late work, conducted when he lived and worked in Amsterdam, he added city panoramas and seascapes to his regular repertoire.
[K] Master painters set up studios to produce large numbers of paintings quickly.
 Van Gogh had two Ruisdael prints, The Bush and a Haerlempje, on his wall, and thought the Ruisdaels in the Louvre were “magnificent, especially The Bush, The Breakwater
and The Ray of Light”.
 Slive, sensible scholar that he is, is more reluctant to read too much into the work, but does put The Windmill in its contemporary religious context of man’s dependence
on the “spirit of the Lord for life”.
His etchings show little influence from Rembrandt, either in style or technique.
 A view of Bentheim Castle, dated 1653, is just one of a dozen of Ruisdael’s depictions of a particular castle in Germany, almost all of which pronounce its position on
 The ruins of Egmont Castle near Alkmaar were another favourite subject of Ruisdael’s and feature in The Jewish Cemetery, of which he painted two versions.
Significantly, Ruisdael made numerous changes to the castle’s setting (it is actually on an unimposing low hill) culminating in a 1653 version which shows it on a wooded mountain.
 Constable also copied various drawings, etchings and paintings by Ruisdael, and was a great admirer from a young age.
 Secondly, many 17th-century landscape paintings are unsigned and could be from pupils or copyists.
 His experience of the French countryside was informed by his memory of Ruisdael’s art.
 Landscape artists did not depend on commissions in the way most painters had to do, and could therefore paint for stock.
In 1801, Henry Fuseli, professor at the Royal Academy, expressed his contempt for the entire Dutch School of Landscape, dismissing it as no more than a “transcript of the
spot”, a mere “enumeration of hill and dale, clumps of trees”.
 Around the same time in Germany, the writer, statesman and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe lauded Ruisdael as a thinking artist, even a poet, saying “he demonstrates
remarkable skill in locating the exact point at which the creative faculty comes into contact with a lucid mind”.
 It is not known whether Ruisdael’s mother was Isaack van Ruisdael’s first wife, whose name is unknown, or his second wife, Maycken Cornelisdochter.
For Dutch and Enlightenment art gallery items go here.
[‘1. This is inferred from a document dated 9 June 1661 in which Ruisdael states he is aged 32 years old.
2. ^ While in modern Dutch the “uy” spelling is only preserved in names and the “ui” is dominant, before modern spelling regulations the “uy”
was spelled interchangeably with “uij”, with “ij” in combination just being another way to represent “y”, and “ui” being shorthand for “uij”. The long list of common spellings of the Ruisdael name over the centuries includes “uy”, “uij”, and “ui”.
Unlike his other family members, his uncle Salomon is well-known today and has works on display in, for instance, the National Gallery in London and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
4. ^ To add to the name confusion, Jacob’s
aunt, wife of Salomon, also was called Maycken.
5. ^ It was unusual that signed and dated works of an artist were created before matriculation in a guild.
6. ^ Though most popular, landscape painting was still not seen as the pinnacle
of painting. In his 1678 treatise on painting, painter-writer Samuel van Hoogstraten reserved top spot in the hierarchy of genres for history painting.
7. ^ The Dutch coffee and tea company De Zuid-Hollandsche Koffie- en Theehandel published
picture books in the 1920s with portraits of famous figures from Dutch history and the 1926 edition showed a portrait of “Jacob Isaaksz. Ruisdael” (sic). It is not known where the coffee and tea company got the image from. Two 19th-century sculptures,
one on the outside wall of the Hamburger Kunsthalle built in 1863, and one inside the Louvre made by Louis-Denis Caillouette in 1822, are also not traceable back to a source.
8. ^ Tax records show Ruisdael paid 10 guilders for the 0.5% wealth
tax in 1674, indicating his net worth was 2,000 guilders.
9. ^ Other evidence of his compositional skills includes the botanically accurate representation of the shrub Viburnum lantana on the 1653 Bentheim Castle painting, for which there is
no evidence of ever have been present in this area.
10. ^ It is assumed that in his early years Ruisdael painted the staffage himself. Landscape with a Cottage and Trees of 1646 is one such example. The figures in most of his panoramic
views are also of his own hand. Art historian Robert Watson writes that the odd tendency to hire each other to paint small figures in landscapes suggests a taboo guarding the barrier between the human and the natural.
11. ^ Based on records
of membership of the Guild of Saint Luke, it is estimated there was one painter for every 2,000 to 3,000 inhabitants, compared to every 10,000 in Renaissance Italy. A total of five million paintings were produced in the Dutch Republic in the
17th century. Slive says there were hundreds of landscapists during Ruisdael’s time.
12. ^ Studios already existed before Ruisdael was born. Painters from the tonal phase had also developed efficient techniques such as wet-into-wet
paint, but this was not used by the classical phase painters, who strived for a high level of realism.
13. ^ It is not certain if Ruisdael had more pupils other than Hobbema in his studio, but at least four other artists have been identified
as having provided staffage for his landscapes.
14. ^ Art historian Scheyer suggests that it possible that one of the Jewish Cemetery versions was commissioned by the family of Eliahu Montalto, whose tomb is on the painting. Slive does
not hold this for impossible.
15. ^ This work, The Arrival of Cornelis de Graeff and Members of His Family at Soestdijk, His Country Estate (c. 1660), is unusual in Ruisdael’s oeuvre for another reason. It is also the only one in which his
landscape is the background to the work of another artist.
1. Slive & Hoetink 1981, p. 19.
2. ^ Slive & Hoetink 1981, p. 17–21.
3. ^ Reenen & Wijnands 1993, p. 389–419.
4. ^ “Union list of artist names”. J. Paul Getty Trust. Archived
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5. ^ Scott 2015, p. 104.
6. ^ “Salomon van Ruysdael”. National Gallery. Archived from the original on 6 January 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
7. ^ “River Landscape with Ferry”.
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8. ^ Jump up to:a b c Slive & Hoetink 1981, p. 17.
9. ^ Jump up to:a b c Slive & Hoetink 1981, p. 21.
10. ^ Jump up to:a b Houbraken 1718, p.
11. ^ Jump up to:a b Slive 2011, p. xi.
12. ^ Slive & Hoetink 1981, p. 18.
13. ^ Liedtke 2007, p. 801.
14. ^ Jump up to:a b Kuznetsov 1983, p. 4.
15. ^ Jump up to:a b Slive 2005, p. 2.
16. ^ Slive 2005, p. 3.
17. ^ Slive 2001, p.
18. ^ Slive & Hoetink 1981, p. 20.
19. ^ Jager 2015, p. 9.
20. ^ Golan 1997, p. 369.
21. ^ Hinrichs 2014, pp. 22–25.
22. ^ Jump up to:a b c Slive & Hoetink 1981, p. 22.
23. ^ Slive 2011, p. xii.
24. ^ Liedtke 2007, p. 788.
Slive 2001, p. x.
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27. ^ Jump up to:a
b Slive 2001, p. 153.
28. ^ Slive & Hoetink 1981, p. 19–20.
29. ^ Scheltema 1872, p. 105.
30. ^ Jump up to:a b Wecker, Menachem (21 October 2005). “Jacob van Ruisdael is not Jewish”. Forward. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved
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31. ^ Slive 2001, p. i.
32. ^ Wüstefeld 1989, p. 11.
33. ^ Israel 1995, p. 397.
34. ^ Scheltema 1872, p. 101.
35. ^ Hinrichs 2013b, pp. 60–65.
36. ^ Jump up to:a b Houbraken 1718, p. 66.
37. ^ “Plaatjesalbum: De Zuid-Hollandsche
Koffie- en Theehandel, Vaderlandsche historie”. Zwiggelaar Auctions. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
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40. ^ Wijnman 1932, p. 49–60.
41. ^ Jump up to:a b Slive & Hoetink 1981, p. 26.
42. ^ Montias 1996, p. 366.
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44. ^ Slive 2005, p. xiii.
45. ^ Jump up to:a b Slive
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46. ^ Ashton, Davies & Slive 1982, p. 5.
47. ^ Jump up to:a b c Slive 2006, p. 2.
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50. ^ Jump up to:a b Sokolova 1988, p. 63.
51. ^ Hofstede de Groot 1911, p. 275.
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53. ^ Slive 2001, p. 591–593.
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Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rkramer62/14278331403/’]