Haarlem renaissance: Margaret D. Carroll on Jacob van Ruisdael.
AN EXHIBITION OF WORKS BY JACOB VAN RUISDAEL, which opens this summer at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, also known as LACMA, is the official and world-renowned art museum of the County of Los Angeles, California, located on Wilshire Boulevard along Museum Row in the Miracle Mile vicinity of Los Angeles. before travelling to Philadelphia and London, will give viewers a chance to appraise appraise v. to professionally evaluate the value of property including real estate, jewelry, antique furniture, securities, or in certain cases the loss of value (or cost of replacement) due to damage. the various ways in which this seventeenth-century Dutch landscape painter could make the familiar unforgettable. It is not hard to imagine patrons taking pleasure in recognizing well-known landmarks in his scenes of the countryside around Haarlem and Amsterdam. Indeed, Ruisdael's success might be measured by the multiple versions he often painted of virtually the same place. But what for some artists might have devolved into an onerous exercise in replication for Ruisdael became an opportunity to explore a new kind of artistic freedom.
In that regard, the exhibition also provides an opportunity to reflect on what Hegel identified as one of the most innovative aspects of seventeenth-century Dutch realism and the foundation of its modernity. Because the subjects that Dutch artists This is a list of Dutch artists.
Indeed, the series Ruisdael painted of fields for bleaching linen is a superb example of the freedom with which he was able to improvise im·pro·vise
v. im·pro·vised, im·pro·vis·ing, im·pro·vis·es
1. To invent, compose, or perform with little or no preparation.
2. on a single compositional theme. The exhibition includes three examples of these "Haarlempjes" ("little views of Haarlem," painted mostly between 1670 and 1675) from collections in The Hague, London, and elsewhere. Comparing one view with another, one appreciates how Ruisdael changes the perspective, plays with the alternation alternation /al·ter·na·tion/ (awl?ter-na´shun) the regular succession of two opposing or different events in turn.
alternation of generations metagenesis. of light and shade, and rearranges the patterns of the cloth strips and of the rooftops near the foreground--Mondrian-like clusters of rectangles laid out in shifting hues of terra-cotta, purple, and blue.
Ruisdael's Haarlem series is fascinating in another respect: The paintings are consonant consonant
Any speech sound characterized by an articulation in which a closure or narrowing of the vocal tract completely or partially blocks the flow of air; also, any letter or symbol representing such a sound. with new attitudes that emerged in the seventeenth century toward the natural world. In contrast, say, to the hay makers and harvesters in Bruegel's "Seasons" of around 1565, Ruisdael's figures in the fields outside of Haarlem are minuscule. Ruisdael's laborers, moreover, are engaged in modern and industrial rather than timeless agricultural activities: They are tending strips of chemically treated linen that have been stretched out on the grass to dry. This bleaching process could be said to exemplify the new relationship between people and the elements envisioned by seventeenth-century philosopher Francis Bacon. An early figure in the scientific revolution, Bacon called for men to master and harness the powers of nature for economic advancement and the production of wealth. Appropriately, a large portion of these small canvases is given over to sunlight and windblown clouds: Sunlight was the agent for bleaching the linen and the air for drying it. One can imagine the bleaching fields in the foreground to be the economic base from which the wealth of the distant city arose. Of course, the people working in the fields were not masters of anything but rather Holland's new, rural proletariat.
Other scenes also feature the way in which nature, through technology, was put to the service of the Dutch economy. Windmills The List of windmills is a link page for any windmill or windpump. Collections
See also: Horseback were figures of power for European monarchies, for citizens of the recently formed Dutch Republic Dutch Republic
officially Republic of the United Netherlands
Former state (1581–1795), about the size of the modern kingdom of The Netherlands. , Ruisdael painted towering windmills that had a comparable, awe-inspiring effect.
This, in fact, was a challenge that Ruisdael took up over and over again: how to create a landscape that inspires awe in the beholder. In following the myriad ways in which Ruisdael achieved that goal, one can learn something about how he worked as, in Hegel's words, "a productive artist." Sometimes Ruisdael depicts sweeping vistas of cloud-darkened terrain illuminated by a few dazzling patches of sunlight. Or, adopting a "frog's eye" point of view, he paints a castle (Bentheim, which in reality is spread out on a low-lying hill) in such a way to make it seem like a mountainous fortress crowning a rocky mass that rises up the picture's surface like a wall. And at yet other times Ruisdael closes in on a waterfall that, accompanied by shattered tree trunks or massive boulders, seems to come crashing out of the canvas with a force rivaling the most theatrical of Baroque altarpieces.
Many of these paintings are quite large and imposing. All the more remarkable, then, are those small views of the bleaching fields (and grain fields) outside of Haarlem in which, with infinitely subtle variation, Ruisdael suggests vast panoramic expanses without resorting to cliched cli·chéd also cliched
Having become stale or commonplace through overuse; hackneyed: "In the States, it might seem a little clichéd; in Paris, it seems fresh and original" compositional devices like framing trees or prominent foreground ledges. In View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds, 1670-75, the flat terrain, streaked by alternating bands of light and shadow, is capped by diagonal banks of side-lit clouds that fill more than two-thirds of the canvas; with almost vortical vor·ti·cal
Of, relating to, or moving in a vortex; whirling.
vorti·cal·ly adv. force they pull the eye back to the city's cathedral, which rises up, like a beacon, on the horizon.
"Jacob van Ruisdael: Master of Landscape" will be on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, June 26-Sept. 18; travels to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Philadelphia Museum of Art, established in 1875, chartered in 1876. When the city of Philadelphia planned to erect a building to house the Centennial Exposition of 1876, provision was made to keep the building permanently occupied; the Pennsylvania Museum and School , Oct. 23, 2005-Feb. 5, 2006; Royal Academy of Arts Royal Academy of Arts, London, the national academy of art of England, founded in 1768 by George III at the instigation of Sir William Chambers and Benjamin West. Sir Joshua Reynolds was the Academy's first president, holding the office until his death in 1792. , London, Feb. 25-June 4, 2006.
Margaret D. Carroll is professor of art history at Wellesley College Wellesley College, at Wellesley, Mass.; for women; chartered 1870, opened 1875. Long a leader in women's education, it was the first woman's college to have scientific laboratories. .