Carel de Moor was a very successful, internationally acclaimed painter in his native Leiden, especially as a portrait painter. Typical of the Leiden Fine Painters is the wonderful representation of the silk dress of the lady in the left foreground.
Our painting represents a love garden with Classical Roman statues of Eros, Flora and river gods.
About Carel de Moor
Leiden 1655 – 1738 Leiden or in nearby Warmond
Painter of genre scenes and of portraits. He also painted a few history scenes and a single Vanitas still life.
Sometimes he is called Carel de Moor II or the Younger, because his father carried the same first name. Carel I was an art dealer and frame maker of Flemish origin, who was born in Antwerp.
Our Carel (II) was a pupil of famous painters, such as Gerard Dou (1613 – 1675), Abraham van den Tempel (1622/23 – 1672), Frans van Mieris I (1635 – 1681) and Godfried Schalcken (1643 – 1706).
During his training as a painter he left Leiden twice, for his studies with van den Tempel in Amsterdam and with Schalcken in Dordrecht. Thereafter he remained active his whole life in his native Leiden.
He became a member of the Leiden Painter’s Guild in 1683. Between 1688 and 1711 he was many times dean and head of his guild.
Circa 1694 he created the Drawing Academy of Leiden, together with Jacob Toorenvliet (1640 – 1719) and with Willem van Mieris (1662 – 1747).
De Moor married a first time in 1649 (the couple had six children) and a second time in 1717, but he lost his second wife already three years later.
He had a very successful career. He was especially popular as portrait painter:
- in 1702 he received for his self-portrait a golden chain and medallion from Cosimo III ‘de Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany;
- in 1714 he was knighted by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI in return for several portraits;
- he told Jacob Campo Weyerman (who published The Lives of Dutch Painters and Paintresses between 1729 and 1739) that he made a portrait in The Hague in 1617 of Tsar Peter the Great. Weyerman’s remark that the Tsar could not sit still for very long was changed by Johan van Gool in his biography of Dutch painters (1750/51) into the painter’s refusal to finish the portrait because of this.
Weyerman describes our painter as a man who loved to laugh and make fun, but always with dignity; his character was noble and easy.
About the Fine Painters from Leiden
The so-called school of Fine Painters from Leiden (“Leidse Fijnschilders”) was a group of painters active roughly between 1630 and 1760. These artists all specialized in painting extremely detailed, small paintings, with minutely rendered textures and an enamel-like smoothness. Because of their virtuosity they belonged to the most popular, international and best-paid painters of those days. One finds these common features for the first time in the paintings of Gerard Dou. Frans van Mieris the Younger is considered the last of the Leiden Fine Painters.
De Moor can not be considered a typical exponent of that school. His style, especially in our painting, is looser, his brushwork is more free than that of his contemporary fellow-townsmen.
About our painting
Our painting is exceptional, not only within the artistic production of Carel de Moor, but also within the context of contemporary genre scene painting in Holland.
De Moor did not paint a lot of genre scenes and their quality is very unequal; he was above all a portrait painter. This painting is clearly his best and also his most intimate.
Typical of de Moor is the tenderness and detailed attention with which he approaches his subjects, be it in a genre scene, a history scene or a portrait.
The statues in the garden are rather interesting.
1. The Classical-inspired statue of Eros, the young god of love, stands above a fountain. It must be an invention of the artist.
2. At right one sees a statue inspired by the engravings of the Farnese Flora of Jan de Bisschop. His “Signorum Veterum Icones” holds 100 plates of reproductive prints of sculptures, including a large number of well-known statues of the Greek and Roman period.
3. The arch behind Flora is topped by a pair of river gods. These remind of the four colossal river god statues in Rome:
-two stand on the Campidoglio, in front of the Palazzo Senatorio;
- two more stood in the gardens of the Belvedere, a terraced courtyard connected to the Vatican palace. Today the Nile still stands in the Belvedere Courtyard of the Vatican Museums, while the Tiber stands in the Louvre.
A fifth river god from Rome from the period of the Roman emperor Hadrian was “restored” by several 16th century sculptors into a representation of the River Arno. It was part of a fountain in the Belvedere and is now visible in the Octagonal Court in the Vatican Museums.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it is a marvellously detailed and colourful example of Late Baroque, Dutch, Classicist painting for the well-educated clients of those days: beautifully dressed people partying in a relaxed atmosphere in an idyllic garden setting on a warm summer afternoon.