Jacob van Ruisdael

Bentheim Castle (1653)Jacob Izaaksoon van Ruysdael (or Ruisdaal) (c. 1628 - March 14, 1682), the most celebrated of the Dutch landscapists, was born at Haarlem.

He appears to have studied under his father Iszaak van Ruysdael, a landscape painter, though other authorities make him the pupil of Berghem and of Allart van Everdingen. He was nephew of Salomon van Ruisdael, a landscape artist of some note, and also studied under him. The earliest date that appears on his paintings and etchings is 1645. Three years later he was admitted a member of the gild of St Luke in Haarlem; in 1659 he obtained the freedom of the city of Amsterdam, and in 1668 his name appears there as a witness to the marriage of Hobbema. During his lifetime his works were little appreciated, and he seems to have suffered from poverty. In 1681 the sect of the Mennonites, with whom he was connected, petitioned the council of Haarlem for his admission into the almshouse of the town, and there the artist died on the 14th of March 1682.

The works of Ruysdael may be studied in the Louvre and the National Gallery, London, and in the collections at the Hague, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Dresden. His favourite subjects are simple woodland scenes, similar to those of Everdingen and Hobbema. He is especially noted as a painter of trees, and his rendering of foliage, particularly of oak leaf age, is characterized by the greatest spirit and precision. His views of distant cities, such as that of Haarlem in the possession of the marquess of Bute, and that of Katwijk in the Glasgow Corporation Galleries, clearly indicate the influence of Rembrandt.