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Jacob van Ruisdael, A Pool surrounded by Trees

Key facts
Full title A Pool surrounded by Trees, and Two Sportsmen coursing a Hare
Artist Jacob van Ruisdael
Artist dates 1628/9? - 1682
Date made about 1665
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 107.5 × 143 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1871
Inventory number NG854
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Pool surrounded by Trees
Jacob van Ruisdael

There’s an air of stillness in this large painting that is unusual in Jacob van Ruisdael’s work. The clouds hang as if suspended over the forest and the leaves of trees – often restless in his other pictures – are quiet, though by no means lifeless. Reflections tremble a little in the water, and although the woods seem dark and sombre, the colours in the picture are rich and lustrous.

The deep greens of the oaks that form a screen across the space are given life by the contrast of the gold leaves of the birch saplings growing out of the pool and the silvery bark of the dead tree on the right. Bushes push out of the shadows glowing with amber and gold, and nut-brown lichen grows on the fallen branch in the earthy water. Only the big white dog splashing through the shallows after the almost invisible hare disturbs the tranquillity of the scene.

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