Franz Ossing (member 9648) has drawn our attention to a lively debate in the art history world about whether the Dutch 17th-century masters painted realistic clouds.
There is no doubt the landscape artists of the Dutch “Golden Age”, like Jacob van Ruisdael, painted clouds beautifully. The question is whether the clouds in their paintings were meteorologically accurate.
Some art historians claim to be able to find the complete World Meteorological Organisation cloud atlas reproduced in landscapes from that period. Others argue that cloud forms were distorted to fit compositions and certain types of clouds that are typical for Holland did not appear in the paintings.