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Jacob van Ruisdael, A Waterfall in a Rocky Landscape

Key facts
Full title A Waterfall in a Rocky Landscape
Artist Jacob van Ruisdael
Artist dates 1628/9? - 1682
Date made probably 1660-70
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 98.5 × 85 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1859
Inventory number NG627
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Waterfall in a Rocky Landscape
Jacob van Ruisdael

The tall chimneys of the house hidden among the trees seem the most stable things in van Ruisdael’s picture, holding on to the steep hillside that slides down towards the river. The slender trunks of the birch trees on the right are twisted and crooked, and the leaves turning yellow are ready to fall and be swept away by the water. The water pounds against the bridge’s legs as it tumbles down between them.

Van Ruisdael painted many views of waterfalls. For some time it was assumed that he must have visited a more mountainous country than Holland to give him such an abundant source for these pictures, although no record of such a journey has been found. But his friend Allart van Everdingen had been to Scandinavia and returned with drawings of the craggy mountains and waterfalls that became a source for van Ruisdael’s dramatic images.

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