Coming now to the landscape painters we find that Jan Van Goyen, born at Leyden in 1596, was destined to exert a really powerful influence, inasmuch as he was the founder, as is generally acknowledged, of the Dutch school of homely native landscape. Beginning with figure subjects, he discovered in their landscape backgrounds his real métier, and seems only to have realized his great gifts when he looked further into nature than was possible when painting a foreground picture. He appears to have been by nature or by inclination long-sighted, and he is never so happy as when painting distance, either along the banks of a river or looking out to sea. This extended gaze taught him something of atmosphere that few painters beside himself ever acquired, and helped him to the mastery of tone which appears to have influenced so many of his followers, as for example Van de Velde in the painting of sea-pieces.

Jan Wynants, born at Haarlem about 1620, and still living in 1677, was the first master who applied all the developed qualities of the Dutch School to the treatment of landscape painting. In general his prevailing tone is clear and bright, more especially in the green of his trees and plants, which in many cases, merges into blue. One of his characteristics is a fallen tree trunk in the foreground, as may be seen in three out of the six examples in the National Gallery. The carefulness of his execution explains how it was that in so long a life he only produced a moderate number of pictures. Smith's catalogue contains about 214. These differ much according to their different periods. In his first manner peasants' cottages or ruins play an important part, and the view is more or less shut in by trees of a heavy dark green, the execution solid and careful. In his middle time he generally paints open views of a rather uneven country, diversified by wood and water. That Wynants retained his full skill even in advanced life is proved by a picture dated 1672, in the Munich Gallery, representing a road leading to a fenced wood and a sandhill, near which in the foreground are some cows (by Lingelbach) being driven along. In his last manner a heavy uniformly brown tone is often observable.

It is his genuine feeling for nature that makes Wynant's pictures so popular in England, where we meet with a considerable number of his best works.

Jacob Ruisdael (born at Haarlem 1628, died there 1682) is supposed to have developed under the influence of a school there that was opposing Van Goyen's tone treatment by local colour. Though not always the most charming, Ruisdael is certainly the greatest and the most profound of the Dutch landscape painters. His wide expanses of sky, earth or sea, with their tender gradations of aërial perspective, diversified here and there by alternations of sunshine and shadow, attract us as much by the pathos as by the picturesqueness of their character. His scenes of mountainous districts with foaming waterfalls; or bare piles of rock and sombre lakes are imbued with a feeling of melancholy. Ruisdael's work may be well studied in the six examples at Hertford House, and the fourteen in the National Gallery. Among his finer works in Continental collections the following are some of those selected by Kugler for description. At the Hague is one of his wide expanses—a view of the country around Haarlem, the town itself looking small on the horizon, under a lofty expanse of cloudy sky in the foreground a bleaching-ground and some houses reminding us, by the manner in which they are introduced, of Hobbema. The prevailing tone is cool, the sky singularly beautiful, and the execution wonderfully delicate. A flat country with a road leading to a village, and fields with wheatsheaves, is in the Dresden Gallery. This is temperate in colouring and beautifully lighted. Equally fine is an extensive view over a hilly but bare country, through which a river runs; in the Louvre. The horseman and beggar on a bridge are by Wouvermans: here the grey-greenish harmony of the tone is in fine accordance with the poetic grandeur of the subject. A hill covered with oak woods, with a peasant hastening to a hut to escape the gathering shower, is in the Munich Gallery. The golden warmth of the trees and ground, and the contrast between the deep clear chiaroscuro and soft rain-clouds, and the bright gleam of sunshine, render this picture one of the finest by this master.

The peculiar charm which is seen in Holland by the combination of lofty trees and calm water is fully represented in the following works:—The Chase; in the Dresden Gallery. Here in the still water in the foreground—through which a stag-hunt (by Adrian van de Velde) is passing—clouds, warm with morning sunlight, appear reflected. In this picture, remarkable as it is for size, being 3 ft. 10½ in. high, by 5 ft. 2 in. wide, the sense even of the fresh morning is not without a tinge of gentle melancholy. A noble wood of oaks, beeches and elms, about the size of the last-mentioned picture, is in the Louvre. In the centre, through an opening in the woods, are seen distant hills. The cattle and figures upon a flooded road are by Berchem. In power, warmth, and treatment, this is also nearly allied to the preceding work. Of his waterfalls, the most remarkable are—A picture at the Hague, which is particularly striking for its warm lighting, and careful execution. Another with Bentheim Castle, so often repeated by Ruisdael, is at Amsterdam. In the same collection is a landscape, with rocks, woods, and a larger waterfall. This has a grandly poetic character which, with the broad and solid handling, plainly shows the influence of Everdingen. The same remark may be applied to the waterfall, No. 328, in the Munich Gallery. Here the dark, rainy sky, enhances the sublime impression made by the foaming torrent that rushes down the rocky masses. Another work worthy to rank with the fore-going is The Jewish Cemetry, in the Dresden Gallery: a pallid sunbeam lights up some of the tombstones, between which a torrent impetuously flows.

The Landscape with Waterfall at Hertford House is a good example; the Landscape with a Farm in the same collection is another, though in this the figures and cattle are by Adrian Van der Velde. Ostade and Wouverman are also said to have helped him with his figures, and it is possible that one or other of them ought to have some of the credit for the beautiful View on the Shore at Scheveningen in the National Gallery (No. 1390). The Landscape with Ruins (No. 746) is perhaps the finest of the others there.

Willem van de Velde, the younger, born at Amsterdam 1633, died at Greenwich 1707. His first master was his father, Willem van de Velde the elder, but his principal instructor was Simon de Vlieger. The earlier part of his professional life was spent in Holland, where, besides numerous pictures of the various aspects of marine scenery, he painted several well-known sea-fights in which the Dutch had obtained the victory over the English. He afterwards followed his father to England, where he was greatly patronized by Charles II. and James II. for whom, in turn, he painted the naval victories of the English over the Dutch. He was also much employed by amateurs of art among the English nobility and gentry. There is no question that Willem van de Velde the younger is the greatest marine painter of the whole Dutch School. His perfect knowledge of lineal and aërial perspective, and the incomparable technique which he inherited from his school, enabled him to represent the sea and the sky with the utmost truth of form, atmosphere and colour, and to enliven the scene with the purest feeling for the picturesque, with the most natural incidents of sea-faring life.

Two of his pictures at Amsterdam are particularly remarkable; representing the English flagship The Prince Royal striking her colours in the fight with the Dutch fleet of 1666; and its companion, four English men-of-war brought in as prizes at the same fight. Here the painter has represented himself in a small boat, from which he actually witnessed the battle. This accounts for the extraordinary truth with which every particular of the scene is rendered in such small pictures, which, combined with their delicate greyish tone, and the mastery of the execution, render them two of his finest works. A view of the city of Amsterdam, dated 1686, taken from the river, is an especially good specimen of his large pictures. It is about 5 ft. high by 10 ft. wide. The vessels in the river are arranged with great feeling for the picturesque, and the treatment of details is admirable. His greatest successes, however, are in the representation of calm seas, as may be seen in a small picture at Munich. In the centre of the middle distance is a frigate, and in the foreground smaller vessels. The fine silvery tone in which the whole is kept finds a sufficient counter-balance of colour in the yellowish sun-lit clouds, and in the brownish vessels and their sails. Nothing can be more exquisite than the tender reflections of these in the water. Of almost similar beauty is a picture of about the same size, with four vessels, in the Cassel Gallery, which is signed and dated 1653. As a contrast to this class of works, may be mentioned The Gathering Tempest, in the Munich Gallery. This is brilliantly lighted, and of great delicacy of tone in the distance, though the foreground has somewhat darkened.

Meindert Hobbema (1638-1709) was a friend as well as a pupil of Jacob Ruisdael. The fact that such distinguished painters as Adrian van de Velde, Wouvermans, Berchem, and Lingelbach, executed the figures and animals in his pictures proves the esteem in which he was held by his contemporaries; nevertheless it is evident that the public was slow in conceding to him the rank which he deserved, for his name is not found for more than a century after his death in any even of the most elaborate dictionaries of art, while the catalogues of the most important picture sales in Holland make no mention of him at all up to the year 1739; when a picture by him, although much extolled, was sold for only 71 florins, and even in 1768 one of his masterpieces only fetched 300 florins. The English were the first to discover his merits.

The peculiar characteristics of this master, who next to Ruisdael, is confessedly at the head of landscape painters of the Dutch School, will be best appreciated by comparing him with his rival. In two most important qualities—fertility of inventive genius, and poetry of feeling—he is decidedly inferior: the range of his subjects being far narrower. His most frequent scenes are villages surrounded by trees, such as are frequently met with in the districts of Guelderland, with winding pathways leading from house to house. A water-mill occasionally forms a prominent feature. Often, too, he represents a slightly uneven country, diversified by groups or rows of trees, wheat-fields, meadows, and small pools. Occasionally he gives us a view of part of a town, with its gates, canals with sluices, and quays with houses; more rarely, the ruins of an old castle, with an extensive view of a flat country, or some stately residence. In the composition of all these pictures, however, we do not find that elevated and picturesque taste which characterises Ruisdael; on the contrary they have a thoroughly portrait-like appearance, decidedly prosaic, but always surprizingly truthful. The greater number of Hobbema's pictures are as much characterized by a warm and golden tone as those of Ruisdael by the reverse; his greens being yellowish in the lights and brownish in the shadows—both of singular transparency. In pictures of this kind the influence of Rembrandt is perhaps perceptible, and they are superior in brilliancy to any work by Ruisdael. While these works chiefly present us with the season of harvest and sunset-light, there are others in a cool, silvery, morning lighting, and with the bright green of spring, that surpass Ruisdael's in clearness. His woods also, owing to the various lights that fall on them, are of greater transparency.

As almost all the galleries on the Continent were formed at a period when the works of Hobbema were little prized (Ticcozzi's Dictionary, in 1818, does not include his name), they either possess no specimens, or some of an inferior class, so that no adequate idea can be formed of him. The most characteristic example to be met with on the Continent is a landscape in the Berlin Museum, No. 886, an oak wood, with scattered lights, a calm piece of water in the foreground, and a sun-lit village in the distance. Of the eight pictures in the National Gallery from his hand, most are good, and one world-famous—The Avenue, Middelharnis, which may be called his masterpiece. This was painted in 1689, when he had reached the age of fifty. His diploma picture, painted in 1663, is at Hertford House, together with four other interesting examples, all of which repay careful study.