|Landscape with a Ruined Castle and a Church|
Jacob Van Ruisdael, 1665-1670
The National Gallery, Britain
Here, he shows his mastery of composition. The banks of clouds balance the painting while a diagonal slash of sky simultaneously draws the viewer into the painting and stops the viewer’s gaze at the spire of the church as it appears to pierce the sky. Van Ruisdael was careful to give the painting a natural scale. By incorporating the human figures (probably painted by another artist) into the canvas, he’s given us a sense of the epic sweep of the land.
This painting as well as some of the variations on it are on display at the National Gallery in London.