Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Mountain Torrent

Artist:
Jacob van Ruisdael (Dutch, Haarlem 1628/29–1682 Amsterdam)
Date:
1670s
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
21 1/4 x 16 1/2 in. (54 x 41.9 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Bequest of Collis P. Huntington, 1900
Accession Number:
25.110.18
Not on view
Once thought to be by Allart van Everdingen, this picture reveals his continuing influence on Jacob van Ruisdael's later work. It was probably painted during the 1670s.

This unsigned canvas is a late work, dating from the 1670s. Ruisdael originally developed this type of landscape in response to the Scandinavian views of Allart van Everdingen (1621–1675), although the picturesque approach employed here is immediately recognizable as Ruisdael's own.

A surging stream descends from right to left through a gorge, while a smaller stream cascades from higher ground on the left. Three sheep are herded over a rustic bridge to an inviting pasture in the middle ground, where more sheep and a conversing couple are seen near a timber and earthen-wall building. The large door indicates that a good part of the structure serves as a barn. Higher up, a house on the hill is surrounded by twisted, hardy trees. The view is crowned by a small mountain and culminates in the circular rise of cumulus clouds. Birds soar in the sunny sky.

Mountainous landscapes by Everdingen and Ruisdael, and earlier views by Roelant Savery (1576–1639), offered residents of Amsterdam a refreshing view of nature of a kind they could actually experience only by going abroad. Two very different Amsterdam writers, the moralizing poet Jan Luyken (in 1708) and the artist's biographer, Arnold Houbraken (1721), used descriptions of roaring water (ruis, or noise) in a valley (dal) to play on Ruisdael's name, which in a way documents the delight to the senses such a painting was meant to be (see Giltaij in Masters of 17th-century Dutch Landscape Painting. Exh. cat, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1987, p. 451). The shepherd hears only the water, and perhaps the creaking of wood.

The attribution of The Met's picture was changed from Ruisdael to Everdingen in 1954, and back to Ruisdael in 1972. A review of Everdingen's stormy seascapes and Scandinavian scenes, with their seething waters and dangerous rocks, reveals a very different response to nature from Ruisdael's, not to mention a different painting technique. Even in Ruisdael's earlier, wilder waterfall scenes, a few of which have as much hydraulic force as those by Everdingen, one sees the gap between Ruisdael's imagination and Everdingen's experience, long remembered, of thundering cascades in the mountains of Norway.

Martin's opinion (1938, recorded in departmental archives) that The Met's picture is a German imitation of about 1820-40 was a confused tribute to the Romantic taste for this kind of Ruisdael.

[2016; adapted from Liedtke 2007]
Collis P. Huntington, New York (until d. 1900; life interest to his widow, Arabella D. Huntington, later [from 1913] Mrs. Henry E. Huntington, 1900–d. 1924; life interest to their son, Archer Milton Huntington, 1924–terminated in 1925)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Hudson-Fulton Celebration," September–November 1909, no. 118 (lent by Mrs. Collis P. Huntington, New York).

Indianapolis. John Herron Art Museum. "Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century," February 27–April 11, 1937, no. 61.

New York. American Federation of the Arts. "Little Masters in 17th Century Holland and Flanders (circulating exhibition)," 1954–57, no catalogue.

University Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley. "Dutch Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 25, 1969–January 4, 1970, checklist no. 4 (as by Allart van Everdingen).

Houston. Rice University. "Dutch Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 18–March 1, 1970, checklist no. 4.

Leningrad [St. Petersburg]. State Hermitage Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," May 22–July 27, 1975, no. 25.

Moscow. State Pushkin Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," August 28–November 2, 1975, no. 25.

Bellingham, Wash. Whatcom Museum of History and Art. "5000 Years of Art: An Exhibition from the Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," December 4, 1976–October 2, 1977, no. 53.

Memphis. Brooks Memorial Art Gallery. "Seventeenth-Century Dutch Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 1–June 23, 1982, no catalogue?

Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Museum of Art. "Seventeenth-Century Dutch Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," August 28–November 28, 1982, no catalogue?

Hamilton, N.Y. Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University. "Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 6–April 17, 1983, no. 9.

Rochester, N.Y. Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. "Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 3–June 5, 1983, no. 9.

Amarillo, Tex. Amarillo Art Center. "Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 22–July 31, 1983, no. 9.

Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art. "Landscape Painting in the East and West," April 19–June 1, 1986, no. 3.

Kobe City Museum. "Landscape Painting in the East and West," June 7–July 13, 1986, no. 3.

Martigny. Fondation Pierre Gianadda. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Chefs-d'œuvre de la peinture européenne," June 23–November 12, 2006, no. 15.

Barcelona. Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. "Grandes maestros de la pintura europea de The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nueva York: De El Greco a Cézanne," December 1, 2006–March 4, 2007, no. 11.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.

Wilhelm R. Valentiner. The Hudson-Fulton Celebration: Catalogue of an Exhibition Held in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1909, vol. 1, p. 119, no. 118, ill. opp. p. 119, lent by Mrs. Collis P. Huntington, New York; dates it 1660–70.

Joseph Breck. "L'art hollandais à l'exposition Hudson-Fulton à New York." L'art flamand & hollandais 13, no. 2 (1910), ill. opp. p. 60 [published in Dutch in Onze Kunst 17 (February 1910), ill. opp. p. 44].

Cornelis Hofstede de Groot. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. Ed. Edward G. Hawke. Vol. 4, London, 1912, p. 88, no. 267.

Bryson Burroughs. "The Collis P. Huntington Collection Comes to the Museum." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 20 (June 1925), p. 142, ill. p. 148, erroneously as by Salomon van Ruysdael.

Jakob Rosenberg. Jacob van Ruisdael. Berlin, 1928, pp. 85, 117, no. 215, as "Wasserfall".

Seymour Slive. Letter to John Walsh. February 15, 1971, judging from a photograph, writes that it "looks like a very late authentic Ruisdael".

Alice I. Davies. Letter to John Walsh. April 7, 1972, writes that it is not by Everdingen.

Alice I. Davies. Allart van Everdingen. PhD diss., Harvard University. New York, 1978, pp. 226–28, 309 n. 322, fig. 283, as "Mountain Meadows, Bridge and Falls," by Ruisdael; discusses its relationship to the work of Everdingen.

Stephanie Dickey et al. Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University. Hamilton, N.Y., 1983, pp. 10, 28–29, no. 9, ill., dates it probably 1670s.

Peter C. Sutton. A Guide to Dutch Art in America. Grand Rapids, Mich., 1986, p. 191, as "Mountain Torrent with a Bridge"; dates it to the 1670s.

Alice I. Davies. Allart van Everdingen, 1621–1675: First Painter of Scandinavian Landscape. Doornspijk, The Netherlands, 2001, pp. 178–79, fig. 203 [text similar to Ref. Davies 1978].

Seymour Slive. Jacob van Ruisdael: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings, Drawings and Etchings. New Haven, 2001, p. 218, no. 242, ill.

Walter Liedtke in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Chefs-d'œuvre de la peinture européenne. Exh. cat., Fondation Pierre Gianadda. Martigny, 2006, pp. 16–17, 96–98, no. 15, ill. (color) [Catalan ed., Barcelona, 2006, pp. 17, 54–55, no. 11, ill. (color)].

Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 2, pp. 791, 798–800, no. 183, colorpl. 183, dates it to the 1670s.



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