Ruisdael is considered one of the greatest Dutch landscape painters. Of the nearly 700 paintings in his oeuvre, this work, signed in the lower left, is one of only about thirty winter scenes. Here Ruisdael aptly captured the hushed, late afternoon chill of a Dutch winter’s day. Every element serves to intensify the mood, including the cool tonality of the palette, the blustery storm clouds fast approaching, and the feathery foliage white with frost. Yet people still go about their daily business, unperturbed by the gloomy weather. Ruisdael’s paintings are sometimes interpreted as expressing an underlying moral theme. Here the decayed vegetation at the water’s edge might embody the inevitable transience of nature, and correspondingly, of human life.
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- Titles Winter Landscape (Proper)
- Artist Jacob van Ruisdael, Dutch, Haarlem 1628 - 1682 Amsterdam
- Medium oil on canvas
- Dimensions 14 x 12 1/2 in. (35.6 x 31.8 cm)
- Credit Line Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William M. Spencer, Jr., 1968.43
- Work Type painting
- Classification Paintings
- On View
- Provenance Baron Étienne Martin de Beurnonville, his sale Paris, Drouot, 9-16 May 1881, no. 447 (sold for fr. 2250). Laurent-Richard, his sale Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 28-29 May , 1886, no. 43. Étienne Nicolas, Paris. Sale Paris, Drouot, 9 May 1945, no. 17. H. A. Wetzlar, Amsterdam. With dealer Brod, London, by 1957. Sale London, Sotheby's, 27 June 1962, no. 31 [sold for GBP4000 to Carlson]. With dealer Paul Drey, New York, by 1963; Mrs. Frederic H. Lassiter, New York. With Newhouse Galleries, New York, by 1967; purchased by Mr. and Mrs. William Spencer, Jr.; gift to the Birmingham Museum of Art