Jacob van Ruisdael
WOODED LANDSCAPE WITH A WATERFALL
Oil on canvas (relined). 53,3 x 44,5 cm.
JRuisdael (JS joined).
“He painted Dutch and foreign landscape views, but especially those in which the water is seen pouring down from one rock to another, and finally with great noise (which seems to be a play upon his name) down through the valleys or spraying out. He could depict water splashing and foaming as it dashed upon the rocks, so naturally delicately and transparently that it appears to be real”. Arnold Houbraken is once more the source of information for the admiration that the contemporaries felt for Jacob van Ruisdael´s depictions of waterfalls. “Which seems to be a play upon his name” - with this, Houbraken referred to the fact that Jacob van Ruisdael changed his signature, that his father and uncle also used - and replaced the “Y” by an “I” - supposedly in order to make his name sound like the word geruis (swoosh).
Depictions of waterfalls existed already before Jacob van Ruisdael. Allaert van Everdingen for example made them his trademark in his Scandinavian landscapes. But it was van Ruisdael who developed a composition that visualized the vehemence of the tossing water mass. The waterfall is shown in the whole width of the foreground in an extreme close-up so that the spectacle that is created by the water seems to be directly in front of the beholder. The vertical composition increases the dynamic and sublimity of the depiction that is even more raised by the black clouds.
A. Tischer Collection, Basel. - L. Koetser, London, 1968. - Christie´s, London, 28.6.1974, lot 66. - M. Koetser, Zürich. - Privat collection, Germany.
Seymour Slive: Jacob van Ruisdael. A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings, Drawings and Etchings, Singapore 2001, p. 161, no. 149.