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Jacob van Ruisdael: 'A Panoramic View of Amsterdam looking towards the IJ'
On loan from a private collection, © Private collection 2011
Ruisdael took this view from scaffolding surrounding the tower of Amsterdam's new Town Hall (now Royal Palace) on Dam Square. Sunlight picks out buildings fronting the Damrak and at right, the massive tower of the Oude Kerk. But more than documenting landmarks, the artist gives a vivid impression of the vast city that was then northern Europe's busiest port.

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