The name Ruisdael is connected to a castle, now lost, in the village of Blaricum.
The village was the home of Jacob's grandfather, the furniture maker Jacob de Goyer.
The art historian Hendrik Frederik Wijnman disproved the myth that Ruisdael died a poor man, supposedly in the old men's almshouse in Haarlem.
On June 17, 1657 he was baptized in Ankeveen, near Naarden.For unknown reasons, Ruisdael almost entirely stopped dating his work from 1653.Only five works from the 1660s have a, partially obscured, year next to his signature; none from the 1670s and 1680s have a date.All thirteen known Ruisdael etchings come from his early period, with the first one dated 1646. No etchings exist signed by his father, his uncle, or his fellow Haarlem landscapist Cornelis Vroom, who influenced his other work.His etchings show little influence from Rembrandt, either in style or technique.However, Slive is willing to accept that Ruisdael may still have been a doctor. Slive reports that, because of Ruisdael's depiction of a Jewish cemetery and various biblical names in the Ruisdael family, he often heard speculation that Ruisdael must surely be Jewish.His uncle Salomon van Ruysdael belonged to the Young Flemish subgroup of the Mennonite congregation, one of several types of Anabaptists in Haarlem, and it is probable that Ruisdael's father was also a member there.It breaks with the classic Dutch tradition of depicting broad views of dunes that include houses and trees flanked by distant vistas.Instead, Ruisdael places tree-covered dunes prominently at centre stage, with a cloudscape concentrating strong light on a sandy path.By applying heavier paint than his predecessors, Ruisdael gave his foliage a rich quality, conveying a sense of sap flowing through branches and leaves.An exemplar of Ruisdael's early style is Dune Landscape, one of the earliest works, dated 1646.