The Irritatingly Versatile Jacob Van Ruisdael

I've always been an admirer of the gloomily beautiful works of Jacob Van Ruisdael (Dutch 17th century).  The sun rarely shines in Van Ruisdael's scenes, yet there is light, airiness and stillness.

 The Watermill (ca. 1660)                        Oil On Canvas                                        NGV Melbourne

The Watermill (ca. 1660)                        Oil On Canvas                                        NGV Melbourne

He was also a highly talented draftsman, as the drawing below testifies.

 The Watermill, Sun

The Watermill, Sun

He also tried his hand at etching very early in his career (around 1646) and some of his prints contain almost dazzling intricacy.  

 The Little Bridge(ca 1652)

The Little Bridge(ca 1652)

Would Van Ruisdael have been such a fine landscape painter without possessing excellent drawing skills?  I doubt it.