Salomon van Ruysdael was born in Naarden near Amsterdam. He was inscribed in the painter’s guild in Haarlem in 1623, and lived there for the rest of his life. Ruysdael’s early work demonstrates the influence of Esaias van de Velde and Jan van Goyen and is characterized by a limited palette, areas of broadly applied paint and a horizontal format. In the 1650s Ruysdael began painting vertically oriented works with a more varied use of colour. “The Mariakerk at Utrecht” is a late work of Ruysdael’s and demonstrates the qualities of this stylistic shift. Ruysdael takes liberties with the setting of the Romanesque church, painting it beside the sea, not in the urban centre. This work was once part of a significant collection of Netherlandish works in Montreal amassed by Sir William Van Horne, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway.