Rankle & Reynolds
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From Jacob van Ruisdael to Alan Rankle

Charleen Brunke

"From Jacob van Ruisdael to Alan Rankle", Extract from an ongoing work: Exploring Concepts
May 2014

Jacob van Ruisdael (1628-1682) was a Baroque painter, living in the Netherlands. He never married and kept no journal, resulting in very little being known about him as a person. His interpretation of landscapes was original, because he was able to add a moral and psychological significance that was appreciated, not only by his generation, for he was a wealthy painter, but also by later generations in particular. His method of execution included the use of impasto to create a three-dimensional aspect, which was also novel at the time.


Van Ruisdael’s landscapes always conveyed a gloomy atmosphere, evoking solitude and dark emotions. The colours were not loud but rather somber. His connection to oncoming storm clouds came to symbolize the oncoming of human emotions and moods.


It is remarkable that most of his landscapes were fictitious, based on his own memories and the stories of others. His pupil, Meindert Hobbema, became a master in his own right.  Like Ruisdael, Hobbema thrived on painting overbearing, foreboding clouds with light penetrating through them for dramatic effect. He would also paint the Dutch countryside with solitary figures to convey the underlying psychological aspect. In the same manner as Ruisdael, Hobbema would have other artists paint and sketch his figures.


I stumbled upon Alan Rankle’s landscapes on the internet. Brian Ashbee comments that ‘Rankle’s aim is not pastiche but rather a re-appraisal of tradition through its disruption of various styles of representation.He uses the representational style of Ruisdael, complex perceptual games, expressionism, Chinese brush painting and abstract expressionism, uniting 2000 years of landscape tradition. For Rankle, nature is no longer wilderness, but rather our spoiled and soiled back yard, our second nature, our human nature.’ His Ruisdael like imaginative landcsapes are searching for a dark place in Post Modernism.


Artble. 2014. Jacob van Ruisdael. [ONLINE] Available at:
[Accessed 11 February 14]

Alan Rankle. 1999. A future for Landscape. [ONLINE] Available at:
[Accessed 11 February 14]

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