View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds (c 1665) by Jacob van Ruisdael

View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds - Jacob van Ruisdael - 1665

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Artwork Information

TitleView of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds
ArtistJacob van Ruisdael
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions55.2 x 62.2 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationKunsthaus Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland

About View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds

The artwork “View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds,” created by Jacob van Ruisdael in 1665, is an oil on canvas that exemplifies the Baroque period’s attention to detail and grandeur. Measuring 55.2 by 62.2 cm, this cloudscape genre painting is part of the collection at Kunsthaus Zürich in Zürich, Switzerland, where it is displayed for the public to appreciate.

The painting depicts a serene view of the Dutch city of Haarlem, focusing on the expansive sky and the city’s famous bleaching grounds, which were well known in the 17th century for the production of white linens. A significant portion of the canvas is dedicated to the portrayal of the dynamic and voluminous cloud formations that dominate the sky, echoing the Baroque movement’s fascination with the dramatic interplay of light and shadow.

Below this impressive skyscape, the city of Haarlem is seen in the distance, with the grandeur of the Saint Bavo Church prominently visible on the horizon. The foreground is occupied by the flat and lush landscapes typical of the Netherlands, bisected by reflective waterways. The various tones and hues of green in the vegetation create a sense of depth and tranquility.

Within this landscape, the bleaching fields are subtly rendered, with cloth laid out to be whitened by the sun, a testament to the artist’s attention to the local customs and economy of the time. Small figures are placed within the scene, adding a sense of scale and human element to the work.

Overall, “View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds” serves as a masterful representation of the Dutch Golden Age landscape, combining a majestic skyscape with a detailed rendering of the activities and landmarks of a city renowned for its industry and beauty.

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