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Ruisdael became so famous for such panoramic waterfall views that plays and poems were written to honour his achievement. Even his name was regarded as synonymous with his subject matter, for ‘Ruis dael’ means ‘noisy valley’ in Dutch. His skill lies in his ability to convey a very real sense of the visual drama of a crashing torrent. This painting belonged to the first director of the Louvre, baron Vivant Denon (1747–1825), and was described at his sale in 1826 as ‘a rustic landscape the melancholy of which inspires reverie.
oil on canvas
H 101.2 x W 142.2 cm
acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, 1850; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897