Jacob Isaacksz Van Ruisdael was born in Haarlem in the Netherlands in 1628 or 29 to a frame maker who also dabbled in painting. His uncle, Salamon Van Ruysdael (who spelled the name with a y) who was a noted landscapist may have taught the young Jacob. In the early 1650s Ruisdael made what may have been his only extended journey, to the border region of Germany and the Netherlands and painted the more rugged landscapes he discovered there.
Shortly afterwards he decided to move to Amsterdam, which, though barely ten miles from Haarlem, offered much broader commercial and cultural advantages. In 1676 he graduated as a doctor of medicine at Caen and later practiced at Amsterdam. He never married, possibly so
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