RUYSDAEL, Salomon van
(b. ca. 1602, Naarden, d. 1670, Haarlem)

River Scene

Oil on canvas, 33,6 x 50,5 cm
Kunsthalle, Hamburg

In this painting the formation of trees and bushes on the bank almost seems to rise as a mirage from the motionless water. The whole picture, which is without a sharply drawn line, is a modulation within an almost monochromatic scale; while staying in the same greyish key, this monochromatism is only subtly adjusted towards the sky, where it acquires a bluish tinge, or towards the water with hints of blue and brown, while in the foliage on the bank a greenish grey predominates. In a distant haze the horizon is only vaguely discernible, which makes this calm picture into a harmony of air and water in which the shore, gently receding until it is lost to the eye, delineates a deep, wide space.

So refined and delicate is this painting that one feels that it must be something more than a sensitive approximation to a real view along the bank of a Dutch river, early on a cool summer morning before the wind has blown the mist away. A concious aesthetic element is involved.