Mar 5, 2007

Low Waterfall in a Wooded Landscape with a Dead Beech Tree

Low Waterfall in a Wooded Landscape with a Dead Beech Tree

c. 1660–70

Jacob van Ruisdael

(Dutch, 1628/29–1682)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 123 x 157 x 9.5 cm (48 7/16 x 61 13/16 x 3 3/4 in.); Unframed: 99.2 x 131 cm (39 1/16 x 51 9/16 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1967.63


Jutting from a dune in the foreground, the massive silvery trunk of a dead tree leads the eye across a waterfall and toward a distant sunlit field where travelers and a dog traverse a sandy path. Partly masked by trees, a ruined building is turned gold by the sun. In Jacob van Ruisdael’s landscapes, dead trees, waterfalls, and ruined buildings were visual expressions of the passage of time. Ruisdael devoted equal attention to the cloud-filled skies looming above the land, creating dramatic patterns of light and shadow and revealing the unseen movements of the wind.


Could you cross this river?
Ruisdael's Method of Capturing Nature
Possible Symbolism in Ruisdael's Landscapes
See also

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