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Oil painting - Wooded landscape with a peasant on a donkey
  • Wooded landscape with a peasant on a donkey
    Ruisdael, Jacob van
  • Enlarge image

Wooded landscape with a peasant on a donkey

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1650s (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ruisdael, Jacob van (painted by)
    Berchem, Nicolaes (Pietersz.) the Elder, born 1620 - died 1683 (painted by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Mrs Duroure

  • Museum number:

    307-1864

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

A wooded landscape dominated by monumental trees at left which give way to a dirt road along which travels a man riding side-saddle on a donkey and a wayfarer, carrying his belongings over his shoulder on a stick, a lake and fields visible in the distance at right. This canvas is painted in the style of Jacob van Ruisdael, regarded as the principal figure among Dutch landscape painters of the second half of the 17th century. His naturalistic compositions and style of representing massive forms and his colour range constituted a new direction away from the ‘tonal phase’ (ca. 1620–ca. 1650) associated with the previous generation of landscape painters including his uncle Salomon van Ruysdael, Jan van Goyen, Cornelis Vroom, Pieter Molijn. Ruisdael produced several distinct landscape types—mountainous, woodland and river settings, waterfalls, beach and dune scenes, seascapes, panoramas and winter scenes. He was not apparently interested in Italianate landscapes but stands out among contemporaries such as Aelbert Cuyp and Philips Koninck. His oeuvre comprises ca. 700 paintings and ca. 100 drawings, the majority undated. Around 1650–c. 1656, Ruisdael visited the Dutch–German border region, probably with his friend Nicolaes Berchem, and depicted a number of new subjects, such as half-timbered houses and water-mills similar in feeling and tone to 306/307-1864. Pictures of large trees constituted another new development for Ruisdael and The Great Oak of 1652 now in the Los Angeles County Museum, shows how he made a wooded landscape monumental through focusing on a single mighty tree. The two artist's may have even collaborated on the Los Angeles picture, Berchem inserting diminutive figures into Ruisdael's monumental landscape.

Physical description

A wooded landscape dominated by monumental trees at left which give way to a dirt road along which travels a man riding side-saddle on a donkey and a wayfarer, carrying his belongings over his shoulder on a stick, a lake and fields visible in the distance at right.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (painted)

Date

ca. 1650s (painted)

Artist/maker

Ruisdael, Jacob van (painted by)
Berchem, Nicolaes (Pietersz.) the Elder, born 1620 - died 1683 (painted by)

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

Height: 48.3 cm estimate, Width: 75 cm estimate, :

Object history note

Bequeathed by Mrs Duroure, 1864
The V&Acentral inventory indicates that nos. 305/312-1864 were bequeathed by Mrs Duroure and the annual report of the Science and Art Department describes briefly the individual works.
A hand written note (Kauffmann?) in the Paintings object files reads:

'the Duroure pictures are described in the letter of acceptance g 6.4.1864 as follows:
2 small Dutch pictures- drinking subjects
1 landscape, Roman
1 Rubens, Samson and lion
1 Simon Vouel [sic]
1 Sir Walter Raleigh
2 Landscapes, Waterloo'

Also in the file, a note reading 'in a communication of g 14.4. 1864, apparently a form of receipt, they are described as 2 oil paintings Haterloo (sic)

The term 'waterloo' may refer to the fact that the pictures depict bodies of water and forests -'loo' being an ancient Dutch word for "forest." Accordingly, the city of Waterloo, Belgium may derive froma description an early settlement near marshy woods.

Historical significance: This canvas is painted in the style of Jacob van Ruisdael, a principal figure among Dutch landscape painters of the second half of the 17th century. His style of representing massive forms and his colour range constituted a new direction away from the ‘tonal phase’ (c. 1620–c. 1650) associated with earlier landscape painters such as his uncle Salomon van Ruysdael, Jan van Goyen and others. Ruisdael showed unusual versatility:—mountainous, woodland and river settings, waterfalls, beach and dune scenes, seascapes, panoramas and winter scenes. Around 1650–c. 1656, Ruisdael visited the Dutch–German border region, and depicted a number of new subjects, such as half-timbered houses and water-mills similar in feeling and tone to 306/307-1864.

Historical context note

Landscape painting became especially popular in Flanders and the Netherlands in the 17th century, and increasingly encompassed a variety of forms. Dutch painters in particular demonstrated careful attention to their local surroundings. Panoramic views became popular in 17th-century Netherlands and Jan van Goyen (1596-1656) developed a broken brushwork technique and used a restrained monochromatic palette of earthy colours. At the end of the 17th century there was a pronounced shift in taste towards more academic and classical Italianate landscapes.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'Wooded Landscape with a Peasant on a Donkey', Manner of Jacob van Ruisdael and Nicolaes Berchem, ca. 1650s

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 93, cat. no. 96
A Catalogue of the National Gallery of British Art at South Kensington with a supplement containing works by modern foreign artists and Old Masters, 1893. 2 vols., p. 189.

Production Note

This work and 306-1864 were described as Flemish School in the 1893 Catalgue and as Dutch School by Kauffmann in 1973.

Materials

Oil paint; Canvas

Techniques

Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Donkey; Landscapes (representations); Travellers; Trees

Categories

Paintings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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