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

Halt at an Inn

Oil on canvas, 91 x 137 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

The differences between Salomon van Ruysdael and Jan van Goyen are not very pronounced during the 1630s, and they can come so close to each other that some confusion has occurred in the attribution of their paintings. This similarity disappears about the middle of the 1640s, when a new force and beauty mark's Salomon's turn to the later phase of his art, as demonstrated in this picture.

The heroic tree motif, which Salomon's nephew Jacob raised to an outstanding feature in his art, now appears prominently in his paintings, strengthening the compositions by vertical accents. They form a glowing dark contrast against a colourful sunset sky. His trees never gain much body, and remain thin and feathery in his early minute manner, but they function beautifully in the total pictorial effect, which can gain an extraordinary splendour by the colours of the sky with mother-of-pearl streaks of pink and blue, violet and grey. The air is shiny, and more activities go on than before both on the land and on the water. Max J. Friedlander must have had works of this period in mind when he said:

'While the weather in van Goyen's pictures always make you feel it will soon rain, Ruysdael's pictures make you feel it has rained, and a fresh wind has driven the rain away."