Moreelse was not only a respected artist, but also worked as an architect and urban
planner. Born in Utrecht to a wealthy family from Louvain, he studied in Delft with the
leading portrait painter Michiel van Mierevelt. In Italy, where Moreelse stayed next for
an extended period, he was already in demand as a portrait painter though none of these
early works have come down to us, his earliest dated painting being from 1602.
Together with his esteemed colleague Abraham Bloemaert, Moreelse founded a
painters’ guild in their hometown Utrecht, for which institution he was to serve as dean
for many years (1612, 1615 and 1619). With 28 recorded pupils, among them Dirck van
Baburen, Moreelse’s studio must have been busy and thriving. Moreelse was deeply
involved in the city’s civic life, joining the town council in 1618 and later supporting
the founding of the city’s university. These activities certainly also helped advance his
artistic career, furnishing him with many a prestigious commission.
1 For a discussion, see: M. Restellini, Ilone et George Kremer: Héritiers de l’Âge d’Or
hollandais, exh. cat. Paris (Pinacothèque de Paris) 2011, nr. 42, pp. 190-91.
2 See for this A. McNeil Kettering, The Dutch arcadia: pastoral art and its audience in the
golden age, Montclair (NJ) 1983, pp. 53-55.
3E.J. Sluijter in P. van den Brink (ed.), Het Gedroomde Land: pastorale schilderkunst in de
Gouden Eeuw, exh. cat. Frankfurt (Schirn Kunsthalle); Luxembourg (Musée National d'Histoire
et d'Art); Utrecht (Centraal Museum) 1993, p. 54, note 101.
4 For this number see E. Domela Nieuwenhuis in J. Spicer (ed.), Masters of light: Dutch
painters in Utrecht during the Golden Age, Baltimore (Walters Art Gallery); London (National
Gallery); San Francisco (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco) 1997, p. 323.
5 As pointed out by Domela Nieuwenhuis (see literature), from circa 1984 our painting had a
1636 dated pendant depicting a shepherd playing a shawm. This, however probably was not the
original pendant. If the 1846, 1853 and 1854 sales listed here in the provenance apply to our
painting, it had a shepherd holding sheet music as its companion piece. It has not survived and
it could well be the one recorded in a drawing by Henriette A. van Eys, sold as lot 304 on 28-29
August 1989, at Diederiks Auction BV, The Hague.
6 The shepherd is the painting now in Schwerin (Staatliches Museum) and the most likely
candidate for the shepherdess is a painting now in Pommersfelden (Count von Schönborn
collection), see: C. Vermeeren in P. van der Ploeg & C. Vermeeren (eds.), Vorstelijk verzameld:
Vorstelijk verzameld: de kunstcollectie van Frederik Hendrik en Amalia, exh. cat. The Hague
(Mauritshuis) 1997, pp. 174-77.