(b Haarlem, ?1628/9; d ?Amsterdam; bur. Haarlem, 14 Mar. 1682). The greatest and most versatile of all Dutch landscape painters. In the absence of any evidence about his training, it is generally assumed that he was taught by his father Isaac, who was a painter as well as a frame maker and picture dealer (no works by him are known to survive). His uncle Salomon van Ruysdael (this distinction in spelling occurs consistently in their own signatures) presumably also played a part in his artistic education. Ruisdael was extremely precocious, however: his earliest known paintings date from 1646, when he was probably no more than 18, and already reveal a mature and distinctive artistic personality. He was also versatile and prolific (about 700 paintings are reasonably attributed to him, together with 100 or so drawings and a dozen etchings): he painted forests, grain fields, beaches and seascapes, watermills and windmills, winter landscapes and Scandinavian torrents influenced by Allart van Everdingen (he did not visit Scandinavia himself); he could conjure poetry from a virtually featureless patch of duneland as well as from a magnificent panoramic view.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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