A vast landscape with shepherds, indistinctly signed at lower right: J van Ruijs...., oil on canvas, 103.2 x 150.1 cm, framed
Jacob Salomonsz. van Ruysdael belonged to a Haarlem painter dynasty who had an unparallelled impact on naturalistically described Dutch landscape painting. Born and raised in Haarlem, Jacob was the son of Salomon van Ruysdael, who sent him to be trained by his brother. Jacob van Ruysdael, who worked together with his nephew on several landscapes, influenced the painting style of the young artist in an impressive manner, as the present landscape demonstrates. Not only do the balanced composition and the soft colouration lend this picture a peaceful atmosphere; it is also the treatment of light that contributes to the charm of his works. Ruysdael placed great value on an exact observation of nature. Many studies demonstrate his intensive examination of the play of light and colour, the structure of the leaves, and the branches of the trees. The grouping of trees around a roadside cross upon a knoll was a common motif in Ruysdael’s drawings and was used in several of his paintings (compare a drawing preserved in the Albertina, Vienna, inv. no. 10.116).
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