Waterfalls situated in a mountainous setting were one of Ruisdael’s preferred subjects. He is thought to have encountered Scandinavian landscapes through the works of the Dutch painter and printmaker Allan van Everdingen (1621–75) who had travelled to the south-eastern coast of Norway and western Sweden in 1644. This painting exemplifies Ruisdael’s ability to create an atmosphere of rushing water and convincing sense of space; it is not at all obvious that the painting is a work of the artist’s imagination.
The blues, whites and greys of the clouded sky create a sense of depth and perspective when contrasted with the earthy tones of the rocks, cascades and foliage. The water provides a focal point to the painting. Crashing and foaming, its onward flow draws the eye of the viewer into the landscape.