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Jacob Salomonsz. van Ruysdael, A Waterfall by a Cottage in a Hilly Landscape

Key facts
Full title A Waterfall by a Cottage in a Hilly Landscape
Artist Jacob Salomonsz. van Ruysdael
Artist dates 1629/30 - 1681
Date made about 1650-81
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 103.5 × 86.9 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1859
Inventory number NG628
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Waterfall by a Cottage in a Hilly Landscape
Jacob Salomonsz. van Ruysdael

Under a stormy sky, cattle are herded across a frail-looking bridge, the fast water threatening to destroy the trestles that hold it up. The river swings round to the left and tumbles away in a mist of foam down the hill between jagged rocks. Norwegian pine trees pierce the clouds and the branches of a birch toss in the wind. Between them a view of purple hills stretches away in the distance.

The painting was once thought to have been by Jacob van Ruisdael, the leading Dutch landscape artist of the seventeenth century; it has since been attributed to his cousin, Jacob Salomonsz. Ruysdael, who imitated his style. Perhaps the slightly awkward placing of the mountain high above the trees on the right is a clue that the picture isn't likely to be by van Ruisdael, but the movement of the torrent and the atmospheric lighting still make a dramatic scene.

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