Ruysdaal, Jacob

, a celebrated landscape-painter of Holland, was born at Haerlem in 1636; and, though it is not known by what artist he was instructed, yet it is affirmed that some of his productions, when he was only twelve years of age, surprised the best painters. Nature was his principal instructor as well as his guide; for he studied her incessantly. The trees, skies, waters, and grounds, of which his subjects were composed, were all sketched upon the spot, just as they allured his eye, or delighted his imagination. His general subjects were, views of the banks of rivers hilly ground, with natural cascades; a country, interspersed with cottages and huts solemn scenes of woods and groves, with roads through them windmills and watermills but he rarely painted any subject without a river, brook, or pool of water, which he expressed with all possible truth and transparency. He likewise particularly excelled in representing torrents, and impetuous falls of water; in which subjects the foam on one part, and the pellucid appearance of the water in another, | were described with wonderful force and grandeur. Sir Joshua Reynolds says there is a clearness in his landscapes scarce seen in those of any other painter. Most of the collections in England are adorned with some of the works of this master. He died in 1681, aged forty-five.

He had a brother, Solomon Ruysdaal, who was born at Haerlem in 1616, and was also a painter of landscapes, but in every respect far inferior to Jacob. The best commendation given him by the writers on this subject is, that he was a cold imitator of Schoeft and Van Goyen, and although his pictures have somewhat that is plausible, sufficient to engage the attention of those who are prejudiced in favour of the name of Ruysdaal, yet, to persons of true judgment and taste, they are in no great estimation; and the eye is disgusted with too predominant a tint of yellow, which is diffused through the whole. He rendered himself, however, considerable, by having discovered the art of imitating variegated marbles with surprising exactness; and he gave to his compositions an appearance so curiously similar to the real marble, that it was scarce possible to discern any difference, either in the weight, the colour, or the lustre of the polish. He died in 1670. 1

1 Arsjeoville, To!. III. Pilkinjton. —Strutt.