Ruisdael, Jacob Van
Dutch painter and etcher, who is considered one of the greatest masters of Dutch landscape. Jacob Van Ruisdael, or Ruysdael, was born in Haarlem, the son of a painter and the nephew of the noted painter Salomon van Ruisdael. Jacob probably studied with both his father and his uncle. In 1648 Jacob Van Ruisdael became a member of the painters guild in Haarlem, and his early work shows the influence of another Haarlem landscape artist, Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom. From 1650 to 1652 Ruisdael traveled widely in Holland and western Germany, making studies of the landscapes of those regions. About 1655 he settled in Amsterdam and remained there until his death.
Jacob Van Ruisdael often painted the flat and simple scenery characteristic of many parts of Holland, giving a quiet melancholy character to views of distant hamlets, water mills, dark sheets of water overhung by rees, and clouded skies. Representations of dark masses of foliage make the prevailing color of most of these canvases a dark green. The figures in them were painted by other artists. Among his most important works are scenes that evoke the power and emotive force of the natural world through imagery such as mountains with foaming waterfalls and brooding, romantic weather elements. These works include Landscape with a Footbridge (1652, Frick Collection, New York City), Forest Entrance (1653, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), and The Jewish Cemetery (1660?, versions in Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, Michigan, and Gemelde galerie, Dresden, Germany). More peaceful is the Windmill at Wijk (1665?; Rijksmuseum). Jacob Van Ruisdael's art work was not highly regarded during his lifetime, but his style greatly influenced later European landscape painters.
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