Jacob Van Ruisdael — Windmill // DM

I chose this image form Jack Van Ruisdael titled, Windmill, because it reminded me of the watertoweps found in the agricultural areas of Missouri. This painting depicted a moody tone when I first saw it, and it seemed to grasp my attention with a unique perspective of the windmill. Wetsermann also dives into the idea of perspective, where he points out the unusually low viewpoint opening the possibility that this infers the windmill is more imposing than a similar work — seemingly poking at the idea of vantage points of subjects and how they play a role in the purpose of art. Similarly, the clouds allude the presence of God, as Ruisdael chooses this low viewpoint to look up at the sky.

Blakely’s approach to interrupting artwork seems to looking a more historical context, often referencing points in history that could be related to the art pieces. I think Blakely would approach this painting looking for the time period, and then examining what market trends were occurring and what agricultural innovations would be occurring in this time. In reference to folklore and national identity, Ruisdael’s work would most likely depict a familiar scenery for many of the countryside, it is interesting to note this was created from the basis of sketches and drawings. He then chose to remove objects such as walls and gates that would distract the view from the subject — the windmill. So, I would come to the conclusion of the strength of emphasis placed on agriculture within this society. It’s clear that an agrarian way of life made up this national identity,; Windmill seems to depict a sense of common culture that was shared amongst the community of this area — that is the way of life through work and faith.


One thought on “Jacob Van Ruisdael — Windmill // DM

  1. Your writing explains the difference in the analytical approach of Blakely and Westermann very well. I liked how you connected painting from Westermann’s book to how Blackley would approach the same painting. Before reading your post, I didn’t understand why Westermann related this painting to religion. To be honest, I thought blades of the windmill as a cross and bright sky as God was a bit too much. But, your last comment “this is a way of life through work and faith” shocked me, as I couldn’t agree more. Now, I understand how this painting is about a simple and common Dutch farmer’s life through work and faith. Understanding this, those farmers in the low right corner looks like they are not only walking to the windmill to work, but also praying toward the sky(God). Thank you for the extra, behind the scene information about this painting. It gave deeper explanation of artist’s intention.


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