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Jacob van Ruisdael

Dutch, ca. 1628–1682

View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds,
ca. 1670–1675
Oil on canvas
Acquired in 1827 (inv. no. 155)

This dynamic composition of Jacob van Ruisdael's native city of Haarlem was based on a sketch he made from the top of a high dune where he regularly hiked. More than two-thirds of the canvas is dominated by expertly rendered clouds and sky, inspired by the flat landscape of Holland.


  • Haarlem landmarks on the horizon: From left to right, Bakenesse Church, Saint John's Church, the clock tower, the church of Saint Bavo, the town hall, and the tower of the New Church
  • The bleaching fields: The linen industry was enormously important to Haarlem's economy. In bleaching fields cloth was laid in sun around the edges of the city in a process that took several months