CAREL DE MOOR
(Leiden 1656 – 1738 Warmond)
Diana Sleeping after the Hunt
Signed and dated: C De Moor / F(eci)t 1698
Oil on canvas, 62 3/8 x 57 3/8 in (158.4 x 145.7 cm)
Johan van der Marck, Leiden, by 1770; His estate sale, Amsterdam, van der Marck, de Winter, Yver, August 25, 1773, lot 211, for f339 to Delphos; Possibly, Anna Sandyk-Sautyn, by 1817; Possibly, her sale, Amsterdam, Twist…Smitt Jr., October 21, 1817, lot 9, for f 104, to v. Ebbing; Anonymous sale, Zurich, Koller, September 19, 2008, Lot 3046, to Otto Naumann; Otto Naumann, NYC, NY, by whom sold, 2008, to a private collector; With Otto Naumann, NYC, NY, by 2014.
R. van Eijnden, A. van der Willigen, Geschiedenis der Vaderlandsche Schilderkunst, sedert de helft der XVIII eeuw, Amsterdam 1979, p 154.
Although best known as a portrait painter in the late 17th century and early 18th, Carel de Moor also successfully produced genre and narrative pictures early in his career. Having studied in Leiden with Gerrit Dou, Abraham van den Temple, Frans van Mieris, and Godfried Schalcken, his approach to painting followed the conventions of the fijnschilders. The son of a Dutch painter and art dealer of the same name, De Moor became a member of the Guild of St. Luke in his hometown of Leiden in 1683 and held a number of significant posts within it. Roughly a decade later, in 1694, he founded the Leidse Teken-academie together with Willem van Mieris and Jacob van Toorenvliet. Despite his success as a genre and narrative painter, de Moor increasingly dedicated his time to portrait painting and his reputation in this regard extended beyond the borders of his native Netherlands. In 1702 the Grand Duke of Tuscany commissioned a self-portrait, and in 1714 he was knighted by Emperor Charles VI. Even Peter the Great of Russia is believed to have sat for him.
Our painting attests to de Moor’s exceptional talent as a narrative painter. He presents us with a scene of Diana after the hunt, unselfconsciously asleep under a tree with a dog curled up in her lap. A small vignette is visible in the background showing the goddess in pursuit of a hare, but all else is still and quiet. De Moor’s large canvas invites us into an intimate setting. The great huntress is at rest, vulnerable and exposed. Her strong form is elegantly propped against a rock; one hand cradling her face while the other remains casually at her side. The artist’s rich palette is befittingly dark, the scene is envisioned at night; yet Diana’s skin is beautifully illuminated. Two putti hover behind and above her, one aiming an arrow at the unsuspecting goddess, threatening to wake her. Diana’s horn and quiver of arrows hang from a tree branch alongside the spoils of the hunt. Tactilely seductive peacock feathers cascade over a dead deer’s body, which echoes the composition of the sleeping Diana.
Johan van der Marck, an important collector in Leiden, first purchased the painting during the artist’s lifetime.