Charles Herbert Moore


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Painter and printmaker. Also an architectural historian, educator, and museum administrator. Associated with Pre-Raphaelitism, he produced highly detailed landscapes and nature studies. A sensitive and exacting draftsman, he often worked in watercolor and also made etchings. Born in New York, as a young teenager he took drawing lessons but remained otherwise mostly self-taught as an artist. Exhibiting professionally before he was twenty, Moore was attracted by the writings of English art critic and historian John Ruskin, who promoted truth to nature as an aesthetic standard. In 1863 he numbered among the small coterie that founded the Association for the Advancement of Truth in Art to foster Pre-Raphaelite ideas. He moved to the Hudson River Valley village of Catskill in 1865. In 1871, his career as a practicing artist more or less came to a close when he secured a position teaching drawing and watercolor painting at Harvard's Lawrence Scientific School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At the invitation of Charles Eliot Norton, whom he had known since the mid-1860s, he joined Harvard University's new fine arts department three years later. Together they pioneered in integrating the study of fine arts into the liberal arts curriculum. Additionally, in 1895 Moore was appointed curator at Harvard's Fogg Art Museum and the following year became director, a position he held until retirement in 1909. Granted a leave to prepare for his teaching assignment, in 1876 Moore left for two years in Europe, where he traveled in Italy with Ruskin. His 1877 watercolor Venetian Doorway (Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1877), later a gift to Norton, replicates in characteristically microscopic detail an architectural feature of a sort that attracted Ruskin's interest. On a second sojourn abroad, in 1885, he explored France, and when he left Harvard he settled in England. He died there, in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire. In addition to other books and articles on varied topics, in his scholarly specialty he published The Development and Character of Gothic Architecture (1890), The Character of Renaissance Architecture (1905), and The Mediaeval Church Architecture of England (1912).

Subjects: Art.

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