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Halt in Front of an Inn, 1643

Salomon van Ruysdael

Dutch, 1602/3-1670
Oil on panel
24-1/8 x 36-1/2 in. (61.3 x 92.7 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
F.1970.09.P
© 2012 The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

Salomon van Ruysdael lived in Haarlem and was the uncle of painter Jacob van Ruisdael. Salomon was among the artists who developed a new, naturalistic method of landscape painting that was uniquely Dutch in character. It featured simple themes – sand dunes, sky, travelers in the countryside. Thinly painted with delicate glazes, the scenes were described with a limited palette of colors. The style is referred to as the tonal phase of Dutch Landscape painting.

Here a covered wagon and a modest cart, traveling in different directions on the same road, stop at an inn. Passengers and animals take a moment to refresh themselves. The casual appearance of the scene is geometricall structured, however. The large central tree marks the apex of a triangle defined by the two roads continuing obliquely on either side. A shaded patch of earth in the foreground acts as a repoussoir, pushing the central scene back and thereby increasing the sense of depth. Nothing seems forced though as the billowing clouds and raking light suggest the late afternoon pleasures of a day in the country.

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