Salomon van Ruysdael
(Naarden 1600/03–Haarlem 1670)


Winter landscape with figures skating and sledging, with the Utrecht Dom and Huis Groenwoude to the right


oil on panel
75.3 x 106 cm. (29.6 x 41.7 in.)
c. 1650s

“He [Van Ruysdael] was a poet of the everyday and the silence.”

Wolfgang Stechow, Salomon van Ruysdael (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1975), p. 35.

Salomon van Ruysdael was born in Naarden as Salomon de Goyer, son of a Mennonite joiner. After his father’s death in 1616, Salomon and two of his brothers changed their name to Van Ruysdael, after the country estate near their home town Blaricum. Salomon van Ruysdael then moved to Haarlem, where he joined the Guild of St Luke in 1623.1 Although Van Ruysdael’s training is unknown, his early works show influence by the landscape painter Esaias van de Velde (1587–1630).2



Van Ruysdael was one of the most eminent Dutch landscapists, who is most known for his river views and landscapes with country inns.3 During the 1630s, Van Ruysdael began painting his famous river scenes in close parallel to Jan van Goyen (1596–1656), usually featuring diagonal compositions. This decade of painting in Haarlem is known as the ‘tonal phase’, since the works are characterised by muted colour palettes to achieve an unseen colouristic and atmospheric unity.4 A rarity in Van Ruysdael’s oeuvre are winter scenes, of which only about 20 paintings survive.5 Early in his career, he painted three winter scenes, yet he did not return to this subject for over 20 years, and this Winter Landscape with figures skating and sledding was one of the paintings he executed in the 1650s when he took up skating scenes again.6 Van Ruysdael’s work after 1645 is generally agreed to be superior to his earlier works. This Winter Landscape is a great example of the diagonal design Van Ruysdael perfected in the 1630s, to which he added the topographic detail of the Cathedral Tower of Utrecht and genre-like details, such as the outlined silhouette of the skater in the foreground, playfully balancing on one leg.7 


Van Ruysdael was involved in many activities throughout his life which brought him considerable wealth. He dealt in blue dye and was a member of the Cloth Merchants from 1658 to 1670, as well as being a participant in a tanning mill in Gorinchem. He must have been a fervent traveller, as his many painted views of various cities across The Netherlands attest.8 At the end of his career, Salomon van Ruysdael also painted still lifes and seascapes. He died in 1670 and was buried in the Saint Bavo Church in Haarlem.9 


1. John Loughman, “Ruysdael [de Gooyer; de Goyer; Ruijsdael; Ruysesdael], Salomon [Jacobsz.] van,” last modified 2003, accessed November 17, 2020, on
2. Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., Lara Yeager-Crasselt, “Salomon van Ruysdael,” last modified April 2014, accessed November 17, 2020, on
3. Peter C. Sutton, in private correspondence, 2018.
4. Loughman, “Ruysdael [de Gooyer; de Goyer; Ruijsdael; Ruysesdael], Salomon [Jacobsz.] van.”
5. Peter C. Sutton, in private correspondence, 2018.
6. Peter C. Sutton, Masters of 17th-Century Dutch Landscape Painting (Amsterdam, Boston, Philadelphia: Museum of Fine Arts Boston 1987), exh. cat., 45.
7. Ibid.
8. Wheelock and Yeager-Crasselt, “Salomon van Ruysdael.”
9. Loughman, “Ruysdael [de Gooyer; de Goyer; Ruijsdael; Ruysesdael], Salomon [Jacobsz.] van.”