River Landscape with Ferry, Salomon van Ruysdael
Original is in the National Gallery of Art, DC.
Though his name was largely eclipsed by that of his nephew, Jacob Isaakszoon van Ruisdael, early 17th century painter Salomon van Ruysdael contributed to the movement away from the formal Italianate landscapes brought to a peak in the same century by French master Claude Lorrain, and into the more naturalist compositions and depictions of light and atmosphere that would characterize Dutch Golden Age landscape painting.
Here, as in many of Salomon van Ruysdael’s works, the composition is dominated by the sky, filled within windswept clouds into which the rise of the central mass of trees seems even more dramatic than it would be if it was larger in relation to the sky.
I love the beautifully controlled atmospheric transition between foreground and background just at the base of those trees, at one end of the ferry (images above, second down).