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Jacob van Ruisdael, A Waterfall at the Foot of a Hill, near a Village

Key facts
Full title A Waterfall at the Foot of a Hill, near a Village
Artist Jacob van Ruisdael
Artist dates 1628/9? - 1682
Date made probably 1665-70
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 84.8 × 100 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1871
Inventory number NG855
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Waterfall at the Foot of a Hill, near a Village
Jacob van Ruisdael

The strong wind blowing towards us in this picture is almost tangible. Water roars and tumbles over bare rocks that jut up through the foam. Clouds pile high and rush overhead, echoing the shape of the tossing trees below before they swirl and reform to make room for more, perhaps bringing gusts of rain.

Jacob van Ruisdael was one of the greatest Dutch landscape artists of the seventeenth century. In this painting he is at his most evocative and atmospheric. The change in his work from a more pastoral style to a highly dramatic interpretation of mountainous landscapes and threatening weather came about in the mid- to late seventeenth century, when he met Allart van Everdingen. Van Everdingen had been to Scandinavia and brought back drawings and sketches of the mountainous landscape he saw there. Van Ruisdael was immediately impressed by this fresh view of nature and began to produce pictures that were an imaginary version of this, to him, new terrain.

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