According to Arnold Houbraken, Everdingen trained under Roelandt Savery in Utrecht before entering the workshop of Pieter Molijn in Haarlem. His early works consisted predominantly of marine paintings, in the manner of Jan Porcellis, but in 1644 he undertook a trip to Norway and Sweden which would go on to have a profoundly important impact on his work. Through the annotated sketches he made, his progress can be reconstructed from the southeast Norwegian coast to Bohusland and then to the region of Göteborg in western Sweden. Following his return, Everdingen settled in Haarlem and then Amsterdam, painting sweeping vistas inspired by the Nordic countryside, as well as views of more local topographies.
This landscape is typical of the group of pictures inspired by Everdingen’s journey of 1644, including features such as mountains, jagged rocks and waterfalls. The majority of these works were painted after 1660, suggesting that this picture too was made around or after this date. The choppy waters of the river in this view, which cascade from a waterfall at the extreme right of the canvas, recall the artist’s early seascapes. The clifftop castle and great expanse of sky are thought to have inspired Ruisdael, in particular the series of views he painted of Bentheim Castle in Lower Saxony. Indeed, the impressive castle silhouetted against the sky, perched on a mountainous outcrop of Ruisdael’s great Bentheim Castle of 1653 at the National Gallery of Ireland (Dublin, inv. no. NGI.4531) bears a formal parallel with the present landscape.