PROPERTY FROM THE LONDON RESIDENCE OF DIMITRI MAVROMMATIS
By 1657, when this picture was executed, Salomon van Ruysdael had long abandoned his 'tonal phase' which he had employed to great effect throughout the 1630s; this phase was characterised by an extremely restrained use of colour and contrast, the palette restricted to light greens, greys and browns. In this picture Ruysdael uses the far richer palette that he developed from the mid-1640s onwards. As is typical of estuary scenes of this date Ruysdael sets the scene beneath a dominant sky which fills almost three-quarters of the picture plane, creating a sense of depth by silhouetting the cows and fisherman in the foreground against a background that lightens in tone as it recedes along the diagonal, starting lower left and extending to the right. Many of his river and estuary landscapes from the 1640s and 1650s employ this basic compositional pattern and include many of the same compositional elements, such as the cattle paddling in the shallows, a single sailing boat occupying the middle distance, and a town, sometimes identifiable, in the distance. Few though are as expansive as this exquisite painting, which perfectly captures the vast openess of the low-lying Dutch landscape.
The central section of this painting may be compared to an upright work that sold New York, Christie's, 11 January 1996, lot 39, which appears to depict the same view, although the details (the cows and fisherman) have been pushed further to the left.
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