Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ruysdael, Salomon van

village protégé
oil on canvas
105 x 150.5 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Salomon van Ruysdael (c. 1602 - 1670) was a Dutch Golden Age landscape painter of the Baroque style. He was the son of a woodworker specialized in making fancy ebony frames for mirrors and paintings.

Salomon van Ruysdael was one of the main pioneers of naturalistic landscape in the earlier 17th century in Holland. He was born in the area known as Gooiland and became a member of the Haarlem painters' guild in 1623. A prolific painter, Ruysdael specialized throughout his life in river and estuary scenes. His earlier paintings are modest in theme and restricted in color, the later works becoming more elaborate.

Unlike certain other landscape painters of the period, van Ruysdael generally painted actual landscapes of such places as Arnhem, Dordrecht, and Utrecht, sometimes combining motifs from different places in one picture. His command of the landscape elements - great trees anchoring one side of the composition, distant views that draw the eye, and a vast expanse of sky and clouds - seems more assured, and his use of color for effect more brilliant. From that point he became increasingly interested in light effects and decorative elements in his compositions.  Many of his later works are monumental in format and design, and they exhibit a masterly rendering of atmospheric effects.