Van Ruisdael lived from 1628-1682 and is often considered the greatest Dutch landscape painter. His father was a frame maker and artist, Isaak de Goyer, who later called himself Ruisdael. Jacob was the nephew of the noted painter Salomon Ruisdael, who also had a son named Jacob! I know, confusing, right? Well, it was a long time ago. In the book I read, the author spent a whole chapter on the whole family name thing. Seems there is some doubt as to who painted all the paintings. One thing that adds to the mystery is, only some of the paintings attributed to our Ruisdael are actually signed by him. Either way, until we know more, we'll trust that the people who know, do in fact know what they're talking about, and we'll study the paintings as-is by Ruisdael... somebody or other.
But without a doubt, all the paintings are fabulous. Add to the interest for us, we've read this book (see link below), AND we have good friends from the Netherlands (also Holland, and there IS a difference)! who recently kindly sent us a package from there! I could say a lot about how we adored their yummy sweet stuff, but will refrain from speaking about the salty-licorice... ;)
View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds by Ruisdael.
A text describing bleaching grounds...
And just for fun, here's a map of old Haarlem before the war with the Spanish... with city walls, moat and bleaching grounds inside the city walls.
learner.org on Bleaching Grounds
wiki on Haarlem
Great Artist Series book, includes bio on Ruisdael.
Artist Study @ Fisher Academy
Artist Study: What we do