Holland may not be known for its beautiful weather, but it is known for its beautiful skies. The lovely cumulus clouds inspired many famous Dutch painters in times past. Which is why art lovers know them by the name ‘Ruisdael clouds’ after the famous 17th century Jacob van Ruisdael.
Clouds and their names
The Dutch language has many names for different types of clouds. They are generally named after the objects they resemble. Cauliflower clouds, sheep clouds, anvil clouds or stacked clouds – it is easily seen why we call them the way we do.
What actually makes the light in Holland so special for it to attract generations of artists? Some say it is due to the fact that Holland has so much water to reflect light back up at the clouds. They claim that the light has changed because much of the marshy areas in Holland have been impoldered and the reflections have changed. Others say that it is the water-rich grey skies that make for a fading of hard contrast. And if the sun breaks through it seems as if the landscape is lifted up in that one place. Whatever the reason may be, the Dutch skies make for an impressive view.
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