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Jacob van Ruisdael

The Bleaching Grounds near Haarlem

Artist

Jacob van Ruisdael
Haarlem 1628/29 – Haarlem 1682

Title

The Bleaching Grounds near Haarlem

Date

About 1670

Materials

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

55.6 x 68.2 cm

Credits

Adaline Van Horne Bequest, inv. 1945.920

Collection

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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