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Jacob van Ruisdael was the most important painter of realistic landscapes in seventeenth-century Holland. His work was enormously influential on English landscape painters around 1800.

This is an early work of about 1650. The Church in the background is the Groote Kerk at Haarlem. The painting formerly had some extra figures, notably a gentleman on a horse to the right. These proved to be later additions, and were removed during cleaning in 1998.

Details

  • Title: Landscape with Windmills near Haarlem
  • Date: c. 1650-52
  • Physical Dimensions: w339 x h315 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • null: Engraved by cockburn. Constable copy reproduced in cat London, Arts Council, 'Shock of Recognition', exh. cat., 1970-1 (as owned by T. Gore Browne). The picture is in a private collection near Leicester. On the reverse of this ocpy, under a label, is a faint inscription which reads 'Copied by John Constable RA feb 1831 from the original picture by J. Ruisdael in the Dulwich Gallery'. Constable is recorded visiting the Gallery on 30 July 1830 with 5 other Royal Academicians and chose the picture by Ruysdael and five other paintings for copying (see Reynolds, 1984, p. 252, under no. 32.44).This information is in the Constable, A Master Draughtsman exh. cat., 1994
  • Work Nationality: Dutch
  • Support: Panel
  • Provenance: Perhaps in England by 1799 (a copy of this painting by Constable is perhaps that referred to in a letter of 4 Feb. of that year Ð 'I shall begin painting as soon as I have the loan of a sweet little picture by Jacob Ruysdael to copyÉ'); London, Sir Francis Bourgeois, 1811; Bourgeois Bequest, 1811 (as by Rembrandt).
  • Inscriptions: JvR in monogram
  • Further Information: The handling and subject-matter are typical of Ruisdael's work in the mid-1650s. Two windmills are set against a dramatic sky, with a view of the church of St Bavo of Haarlem in the background. A horse and figures centre left (since overpainted) and a rider and boy on the right were shown by pigment analysis to be post­seventeenth-century additions and were removed in 1997. In July 1830 Constable visited the Gallery and chose the Ruisdael, along with five other paintings, to be copied at the Royal Academy School. Constable’s copy, now in the Dulwich collection, records the additions that were once on the Ruisdael, along with the effects of aged varnish
  • Artist: van Ruisdael, Jacob
  • Acquisition Method: Bourgeois, Sir Peter Francis (Bequest, 1811)

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