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Jacob van Ruisdael, 'The Shore at Egmond-aan-Zee', about 1675

Key facts
Full title The Shore at Egmond-aan-Zee
Artist Jacob van Ruisdael
Artist dates 1628/9? - 1682
Date made about 1675
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 53.7 × 66.2 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1893
Inventory number NG1390
Location Room 19
Collection Main Collection
The Shore at Egmond-aan-Zee
Jacob van Ruisdael

The tide is ebbing at Egmond-aan-Zee, leaving a pattern of swirls in the still-wet sand. You can sense the outward sweep and undertow of the tide before the little waves tumble back towards the shore.

The people lingering on the beach aren't fishermen, like the silhouetted figures near the boats. They are middle-class people out for a stroll. The women’s hair is protected by hoods, their lacy overskirts tied back with ribbons; the men wear enormous brimmed hats, breeches and stockings. One young man whisks a woman up in his arms – he pretends to throw her into the waves and she kicks her feet in protest. His hat falls off and his hair flies as their dog leaps behind them.

These figures may be by Gerrit van Battem, who worked with Jacob van Ruisdael in the 1670s, sometimes adding figures to some of his landscapes. It was a common practice at the time for artists to collaborate in this way.

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