Houbraken Translated

RKD STUDIES

Volume 3, page 340-349


Page 340

lieutenant-colonel Sales. From there he headed for Germany and stayed a long time in Frankfurt with his fellow in art, Matthäus Merian II. From there he left for Heidelberg and then to Spyer, where he made several art works for Karl Ludwig Elector Palatine and councillor Jonkermans. From there he travelled to Strasbourg through Switzerland to Zürich and then over the Alps to Milanese territory. From there he went to Genova, where he got to know the commendable painter Pieter Mulier II, also known as Tempest, with whom he remained for some time and made various pieces. From there he travelled for Livorno, where he painted some scenes for the Dutch consul and then continued his journey to Rome. Arrived there he met Carlo Maratta, Abraham Genoels II, Nicolaes Piemont, Ferdinand Voet, Adriaen Honich, also known as Lossenbruier, and the artful engraver Cornelis Bloemaert. But he did not remain there for long but went on to Naples, from where, after having made many art works, he returned to Rome. From there he traveled to Bologna, Ferrara and Venice, where he visited the painter Johann Carl Loth. Then he went on to Milan and Modena, were he got the opportunity to work for Duke Francesco d’Este II of that name; which ruler had such a passion for art that he took him into his service and gave him a good sum of money annually. Here he remained eight consecutive years, in which time he made many praiseworthy art works, still to be seen, both at the court and on the estates of the ruler.

At this time the Duke undertook a pilgrimage to

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Loreto, where he accompanied him, as well as to Rome, where having come on his third journey, he let himself be inaugurated into the painter's bent and received the name the Kettledrum as bent name. Shortly thereafter, having returned to Modena, he became fed up with travel, so that he asked to be released by the duke, who supplied him with free passage to return through France to his fatherland, which he did. But finding in Turin the oft-mentioned painter Ferdinand Voet, he was detained there for some time with the painting of some pieces, after which they travelled together through France to Lyon, where they met Adriaen van der Kabel, Pieter van Bloemen and Gillis Weenix. Having drunk to each other’s farewell, our Van Bunnick left for Paris with Ferdinand Voet and his brother Jacob van Bunnick, who had usually accompanied him on this travels and who was a good battle painter. From Paris they went on to Brabant, to his native city, which was in the year 1684. But more often mentioned Voet remained in his native city of Antwerp, where he showed samples of his commendable art, both in the painting of histories as of portraits and landscapes, of which he etched several in copper and decorated them with artfully drawn figures. I have been told that in Rome, on the wall of the room of the inn in which the painters were wont to gather he drew in charcoal the entire company that was united at a bent feast so that each in particular was recognizable by his features. In addition the figures were so artfully and firmly rendered, and the arrangements of the figures so inventively thought out, that all who saw it stood there amazed. The respect that the bent company has for him there is apparent

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from this, that when the walls of the room are whitewashed or cleaned annually, only this drawn section is exempted, so as always to display it as a trial piece of art.

My pen has followed Van Bunnick back to his native city. Now it remains for me to say that he was first approached to paint several large landscapes in the royal palace ‘t Loo, and later in the house of Mister Willem Adriaen van Nassau-Odijk in Zeist as also in the House in Voorst, from which one can see what his brush could achieve. He is still alive and lives in Utrecht.

It only rarely happens that after the passing of time things accidentally rearrange themselves as before.

It so happened in the biographies of Italian painters by Van Mander that Daniel da Volterra came to be located before Taddeo Zuccaro, which gave Van Mander reason to say: That Daniel, having climbed so high through effort and hard work and then declined, and that he exchanged the brush for the chisel, can be compared to an arrow which, shot in the air with power, soon again returns down below; but that those who are born for art will become more perfect the longer they practice it. Which he applies to Zuccaro.

For the same reason we could apply this to the Dordrecht artist Simon Germyn and our Leiden knight and painter CAREL de MOOR II. The first mentioned made a good start through effort. His art sun rose but soon descended so far that he had to occupy himself with the course brush and

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dauber’s pot. By contrast the art sun of our knight climbed upward without clouding over and reached the heights of the afternoon circle from where her art rays spread over the world and has lesser art lights ignite.

Leiden boasts of his birth, which happened of the 25th of February 1656.

His father [= Carel de Moor I] was an art dealer, and seeing that he was irresistibly inclined by nature to drawing and painting, and knowing the saying: A good beginning makes for a good end, placed him with the famous Gerard Dou to be led to firm ground rules from the beginning.

I forgot to say in advance that his father had intended to raise him to linguistic scholarship. But when he sensed that Carel had an aversion to learning languages and was entirely inclined to the art of painting (it is hard to catch hares with unwilling dogs) he said, Let him learn drawing, it is useful for everything. This suited Carel wonderfully well, who also made diligent use of his time with Gerard Dou.

Later on, to acquire a bolder brush handling, he was placed in Amsterdam with the famous portrait painter Abraham van den Tempel, but he lost him early in the year 1672. From there he again headed to Leiden with Frans van Mieris and finally to Dordrecht with Godefridus Schalcken,

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where I first got to know him. I don’t know what motivated him, as he then already understood the art of drawing better than Schalcken, unless he only did it to copy his flattering brush (for which he is famous) in his handling.

Should I now want to praise the noble art of the brush that he possesses, I would not lack for outstanding subjects with which to compare him and find a surplus of reasons to continue to trot on in this way, were it not that the pen of Baltasar Gracián has taught me to keep the reins in the hand and sooner to err by praising someone’s work too little than too much. For excessive praise (said that great intellect) engenders curiosity and stimulates envy, so that if the accomplishments don’t accord with the praise, the praise is taken for deceit and makes both the flatterer and the flattered one ridiculous. But it is not my intention to judge the art of the living or to praise it according to its worth, because I could hardly make it appropriate for everybody. Thus I have decided to let everyone's art speak for itself, and only to point the art lovers to them with my finger. Poets allow themselves more freedom in the matter than would be suitable for a historian or biographer.

He has always served the goddess of art out of liking, with pleasure and not as slave. Nor did Fortune give him a hard time, but he latched on to her when she favoured him and did much work, though not in comparison to others. But well done is much done. Let ignorance smirk that such an art brush is not incessantly kept at work, the sensible ones know the saying that says: The most certain way of pleasing is

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to find an appetite in those who have been left hungry.

Especially renowned amongst his history pieces is the History of Pyramus and Thisbe [1].

The historical depiction of Brutus, when he punishes his sons for crimes committed, as mirror for the Roman people, is placed before the chimney of the room of the aldermen in Leiden [2].

In the year 1702 he sent his portrait to the Grand Duke of Florence, who rewarded him with a gold medal and chain [3].

A few years ago he painted for the Imperial Ambassador Philipp Ludwig Wenzel on Sinzendorf a piece four and a half feet wide, in which he treated the portraits of the most famous military heroes of this century, Prince Eugen and Marlborough, sitting on horseback.

One reads a Latin poem on the depiction of Prince Eugen painted by him, which we share with the reader.

IN EFFIGIEUM
Illustrissimi atque invictissimi Herois

E U G E N I I,
PRINCIPIS SABAUDI.

Adumbratam ab ingeniosissimo artifice
Carolo de Moor.

Qualis Alexander, superato victor ab orbe.
Pictus Apelleâ dicitur esse manu:
Non aliter docti celeberrima dexter Mori

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1
Carel de Moor (II)
Pyramus and Thisbe, dated 1710
canvas, oil paint 66,5 x 59,2 cm
lower left : Ca.r de Moor A 1710
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda, inv./cat.nr. 289

2
Carel de Moor (II)
Junius Brutus has his two sons beheaded because they joined a conspiracy, dated 1687
? x ? cm
location unknown : C. de Moor 1687
Leiden, Stadhuis Leiden


3
Carel de Moor (II)
Self-portrait of Carel de Moor (1656-1738), dated 1691
canvas, oil paint 78 x 63 cm
upper right : Cs. d. Moor. Lugduno Batav. su Manu Propria. Ao MDCXCI
Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi, inv./cat.nr. inv. 1890, no. 1892


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Heroa Eugenii Principis ora refert.
Ille est, quem veterum tempos malè finxit avorum,
Alcide verè, Teutona terra, tuus.
Quo duce per perpetuis dudum assuefacta triumphis
Exsuperant priscum Caesaris arma decus:
Cujus ad invicturm dominatrix Gallia nomen
Fracta tremit, clades horret & ipsa suas.
O felix fanstoque aetas sub sidere quantum
Invidiae a serâ posteritate feres!
Quae pariter dignum tam forti Principe Apellem,
Et dignum tanto cernis Apelle ducem.

Mister Arnold Hoogvliet translated it thus into Dutch:

On the Portrait of the most eminent
and invincible Hero

E U G E N
PRINCE OF SAVOY,

Captured by the Wise Artist
Karel de Moor.

Just as Apelles could capture after life
Hero Alexander, who conquered the world:
So the shrewd De Moor, driven by art, captures
Prince Eugen, the fame of
the hero after life.
That antiquity drivels, and speaks of its Alcides,
This, oh Germany,
is indeed your Alcides;
He who by his policies and steady victories
Has the old fame decline
before the Emperor’s glory:
And whose invincible name ever frightens
domineering France

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Ever frightens, since it exacts a defeat from all.
Happy century, you may take pride in your lodestar.
But
how envious descendents will look upon you,
Which counts an Apelles, worthy of capturing
Such a
hero and commander worthy of an Apelles.

There was also one made in Latin on the portraits of Eugen and Marlborough in the battle of Oudenaarde, painted by the same knight. See, here it is:

IN TABULAM
uno conspectu exhibentem depictas

EUGENI et MARLBOROUCHII.

Effigies in pugna propre Aldernardam per
C. de Moor, Pictorum Pincipem.

Irruere in media cernis duo fulmina flammas,
Quid? Superasse vides, quos superesse, duces.
Ut media fertur flamma Salamandra superstes,
Sic nostri superant ignibus ambo suis.
Sed liquitur, licet his temere quis fortior obstet;
Quos nec obire hostes strenuè, abire vides.
Idem igitur longè contraria praestitit ignis,
Mortem hosti, at vitam contulit his ducibus.

The same Hoogvliet translated this thus:

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On the Portraits of

EUGEEN AND MARLBOROUG,

At the battle at Oudenaarde, painted by the same.

Here one sees two lightning bolts of war advance in flames;
Two survivors, since their steel has all bend down.
Just as in fire and flames the Salamander lives,
So also my heroes who
survive their own fire.
Although no one dares, conceited, to commence battle.
See how the enemy flees which
does not perish by their steel.
A same fire is then
entirely belligerently urged on
It brings the enemy death, my heroes life.

JAN FRANS van DOUVEN was born in Roermond in the Duchy of Gelder on the 2nd of March of the year 1656. His father, Gerard Douven, was steward of the cathedral chapter of Roermond and his mother was named Elizabeth Dammerier, both originating from an esteemed family. His father, who had travelled in many lands including Italy, and had lingered a long time in Rome, had developed a taste for painting there, which is why, seeing that his son inclined to art from his earliest years, he fanned the flames. He was eleven years old when he was placed to learn the Latin language, but on his twelfth year his father, only 33 years old, came to die. Then he asked his mother to be allowed to learn the art of painting, which she granted him and placed him in Liège

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with the painter Gabriël Lambertin, who had lived in Rome for many years. After having spent 2 consecutive years on drawing in Liège, he returned home.

In the meantime his cousin, Christoffel Puytlinck, had returned from Italy. He thoroughly understood art, especially the painting of landscapes and animals, both living and dead, with whom he learned to use the brush for all kinds of subjects.

In Roermond at that time lived Don Juan Dellano Velasco, being council and head of finances in the Duchy of Gelder owing to Carlos I, King of Spain. He was a great lover of the art of painting and owned as great a cabinet of art as did his king. Our young painter gained access to him and for 3 consecutive years painted for him, copying pieces by the most famous Italian masters. He had progressed so far in art by this activity that by showing something of his brushwork at the court of his eminence Johann Wilhelm Duke of Neuburg, Gulik and Berg [= Johann Wilhelm von der Pflaz], he at once had the chance to paint portraits of many eminent persons at the court of Düsseldorf, by which he gave such great pleasure that he was called and appointed as court painter in the year 1682. Being only 28 years old then, he entered into marriage with Maria Johanna Daniels.

After the passing of two years this ruler, by nature inclined to art, was encouraged now and then

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