Stechow (1975) dated this striking picture to the 1660s. The same form of monogram seen on this painting has been found on pictures dating from 1659 to 1668.
The work wonderfully suggests a view from on or at the edge of the water, which seems almost to roll away from the viewer to the subtly curved horizon. Clouds and patches of sky are reflected in the river, which has a sheen like polished pewter. Also mirrored in the water's gently rippled surface are the two fishing boats at left and the rowboat to the right, where two men haul in a net and another busies himself with a line.
At least ten sailboats can easily be counted, and half a dozen more are suggested by strokes in the center background. The entire horizon is filled by a trace of land, indicating that the scene is set in a wide stretch of river. Birds skim the surface and soar overhead, and four cows are visible in the right background, recalling Cuyp in the space of a thumbprint.
The panoramic composition, with its main motif strongly silhouetted, brings to mind paintings by Jan van Goyen, especially those of the 1650s. Ruysdael had been painting similar views since the early 1650s, some of them even closer to this work than The Met's Marine
), dated 1650. The bold pattern of this picture is, however, more characteristic of the early 1660s, to judge from a few dated works.
[2016; adapted from Liedtke 2007]