Jacob van Ruisdael
Haarlem 1628/29 – Haarlem 1682
The Bleaching Grounds near Haarlem
Oil on canvas
55.6 x 68.2 cm
Adaline Van Horne Bequest, inv. 1945.920
This is one of Ruisdael’s Haarlempjes or little views of Haarlem. It is a panorama of the city from the vantage point of the linen-bleaching fields that underpinned the city’s prosperity. Ruisdael and his circle executed scenes of Haarlem and the many surrounding towns whose dunes served the bleaching industry. The paintings appealed to the patriotic tastes of the Dutch burghers who bought them. This one is rich in identifiable landmarks of the seventeenth-century Haarlem skyline. The low horizon permitted Ruisdael to create a remarkable orchestration of lighting in the sky and on the dunes through the rich cloud clusters.