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Jacob van Ruisdael

The Bleaching Grounds near Haarlem


Jacob van Ruisdael
Haarlem 1628/29 – Haarlem 1682


The Bleaching Grounds near Haarlem


About 1670


Oil on canvas


55.6 x 68.2 cm


Adaline Van Horne Bequest, inv. 1945.920


Western Art

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.

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