Jacob van Ruisdael, Dutch, 1628/29-1682
Title: The Castle of Bentheim
Date: 1653
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
110.5 x 144 cm
Credit Line: Presented, Sir Alfred and Lady Beit, 1987 (Beit Collection)
Object Number: NGI.4531
DescriptionRegarded as the principal landscape painter of the Dutch golden age, Jacob van Ruisdael produced about 700 paintings and 100 drawings. He excelled in various subgenres, including woodlands, rivers, waterfalls, mountains, seascapes, beaches and panoramic views. Around 1650, Van Ruisdael travelled to Westphalia, where Castle Bentheim is located. Having made drawings on the spot, he painted the fortress some 14 times after his return home. Completed when the artist was only in his mid-twenties, this painting is regarded as the finest and most ambitious of his depictions of the castle, and one of the highlights of his oeuvre.
In Van Ruisdael’s work, humanity is always secondary to the power of nature; in The Castle of Bentheim the figures are barely visible.Our eyes are being led from the foreground, which seems only a few metres away, via some houses, rocks and vegetation rendered in numerous hues of green, to the castle. Van Ruisdael exaggerated the elevation of the hill, making the fortress look more impressive than it is in reality. The castle has survived and today it is a tourist attraction.

March 2016
ProvenanceAccording to Smith painted for the Count of Bentheim; by descent until 1815; William Smith, M.P. (by 1815); Thomas Kebble of Green Trees, near Tonbridge, Kent by 1835; London, 2 June 1856, A Nobleman (Thomas Kebble) sale, lot 54, bt. Woodin for John Walter, Bearwood; probably purchased by Alfred Beit between 1895 and 1906; by descent in 1906 to his brother Otto, later Sir Otto Beit; by descent in 1930 to his son, Sir Alfred Beit; presented, Sir Alfred and Lady Beit, 1987 (Beit Collection)
Exhibition HistoryBritish Institution, London, 1815

Art Treasures Exhibition, Manchester, 1857

British Institution, London, 1861

National Exhibition of Works of Art, Leeds, 1868

Pictures, decorative furniture etc., Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1907

Dutch Art 1450-1900, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1929

Cinq Siecles d'art, Exposition Universelle, Brussels, 1935

Old Master Paintings from the Beit Collection, National Gallery of South Africa, Capetown, 1949-1950

Bi-centenary Exhibition, Christie's, London, 1967

Jacob van Ruisdael, Mauritshuis, The Hague; Fogg Art Museum, Havard University, 1981-1982

Acquisitions 1986-88, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, June - July 1988

Master European Paintings form the National Gallery of Ireland, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 6 June - 9 August 1992; Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, 19 September - 6 December 1992; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 13 January - 28 March 1993; IBM Gallery, New York, 27 April - 26 June 1993

The Glory of the Golden Age, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 15 April - 17 September 2000

Greetings from Bentheim, Jacob van Ruisdael, Mauritshuis, The Hague, 26 February - 31 May 2009
Label TextJacob van Ruisdael is generally regarded as the principal landscape painter of the Dutch Golden Age. Around 1650, van Ruisdael travelled to Westphalia, where Castle Bentheim is located. Having made drawings on the spot, he painted the fortress fourteen times after his return home. Completed when van Ruisdael was only in his mid-twenties, this painting is regarded as the finest and most ambitious of the artist’s depictions of the castle. and one of the highlights of his oeuvre. By exaggerating the elevation of the hill, Van Ruisdael made the fortress look more impressive than it is in reality.