Woodland scenes on a modest scale had been among the earliest of Ruisdael's paintings. This painting of a dark majestic forest scene, probably of the late 1660s, is one of the most ambitious of the painter's studies of trees. They are shown here in a stilled and unusual setting, growing from the waters of a pool. The oaks in the centre, their foliage mirrored in the shapes of the passing clouds, are contrasted with the brighter trunks of the beech trees to the right. This scene of tranquillity is interrupted by the hunter with his dog coursing a hare in the centre of the pool. The mood of gradual yet inescapable decay strikes a melancholy note, which can often be found in the artist's paintings for the period.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1628/9? - 1682
Full title
A Pool surrounded by Trees, and Two Sportsmen coursing a Hare
Date made
about 1665
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
107.5 x 143 cm
Inscription summary
Signed
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1871
Inventory number
NG854
Location in Gallery