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 sheets.
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 (bliblical and mythical subjects) 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 excellent and very 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, also here, is looser, his brushwork is more free than that of his contemporary fellow-townsmen.
Arcadia refers to a vision of pastoralism and harmony with nature. It is derived from the Greek province of the same name, dating from antiquity. The province's mountainous topography and sparse population of shepherds later caused the word ‘Arcadia’ to develop into a poetic byword for an idyllic vision of an unspoiled, Mediterranean wilderness, uncorrupted by civilization. It was regarded as unattainable or as a lost.
Arcadia became an idealised phantasy dreamland in poetry. Best known are:
- the popular pastoral tragicomedy “il pastor fido” by Battista Guarini (1590);
- the translation in Dutch by Karel van Mander of the “Bucolics” of the Roman poet Virgil (1597);
- the famous play “Granida” by Pieter Cornelisz. Hooft (1605).
In painting Arcadian scenes are characterised by an Italianate landscape (hills bathing in a warm sunlight) populated with nude or scarcely dressed figures.
Why should you buy this painting?
Would you not like to book a direct flight to Arcadia? What a magnificent nude. De Moor has well understood here the lessons of Correggio and of 16th century Venetian Renaissance painting: this is a sheer masterpiece of Dutch Classicist painting.