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Oak and Thicket at a Pool (Woodland Pond)

Artist: Jacob van Ruisdael
(Haarlem, 1628/1629 – Amsterdam, 1682)

Date: 1646–1649
Medium: oil on oak
Dimensions: 66 x 48.9 cm
with frame: 81 x 67 x 10.5 cm
Classification: painting
Inventory Number: 263
Department: Old Master Paintings

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Oak and Thicket at a Pool (Woodland Pond)

This small-size panel, datable between 1646 and 1649, is an early picture by the greatest exponent of Dutch landscape painting. Its chief motif is a gnarled oak tree, which, in spite of its naturalism, gives the anthropomorphic impression of a petrified human figure pathetically stretching his arms skywards. The ominously gathering clouds and the dramatic illumination intensify the romantic atmosphere, and emphasise the idea of transience also suggested by the motif of the bare tree. Ruisdael linked the realistic depiction of the Dutch landscape with a visual representation of the symbols and metaphors used in contemporary poetry, and with his inspired" landscapes he exerted a great influence on both the 17th and the 19th century painters."