Drawing the Eel

Salomon van Ruysdael Dutch

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 615

Against a wintry sky and bare branches, this village road becomes the setting for a cruel pastime: a live eel strung on a line is plucked down by young people charging past on horseback. The contest provides the pretext for a festive gathering, allowing Ruysdael to combine his eye for local color with an evocation of limpid winter light and its reflection in the frozen skating pond below.

Drawing the Eel, Salomon van Ruysdael (Dutch, Naarden, born ca. 1600–1603, died 1670 Haarlem), Oil on wood

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