As one of the leading portrait painters of the time, this Netherlander lead a well traveled life through England, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. He has gone by the names, Sir Anthony More, Antonio Moro, Antoon, Antonis, Anthonius, and in his later years of wealth as Moro van Dashorst. He trained under the Dutch artist, Jan van Scorel, who is responsible for bringing the influence of the Italian painters of the High Renaissance to the Netherlands. Years later Moro painted a famous portrait of the artist, which is now in London.
His earliest works are said to have been painted anywhere between 1541 and 1544, but his career started to become documented after 1547, when he joined the Venerable Guild of St. Luke at Antwerp. Moro found the patronage of Cardinal Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle (1517 – 1586), an influential church leader in the Netherlands, who later became a chancellor for the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V (1500 – 1558). During this time he painted a notable portrait of Granvelle and also of the Duke of Alba (1507 – 1582), or the “Iron Duke” of Spain.
After some time in Rome, Moro worked in Portugal where he painted portraits of the Infanta Maria, Queen Catharine of Portugal, King John III and his wife Catherine. Much of Moro’s portrait style was influenced by the Venetian leader of Italy’s Renaissance, Titian, of whom Moro copied paintings of during his time in Rome. Moro’s portrait pieces are not diverse in composition, mostly full sized, seated poises that depict dignified subjects. His self-portraits even captured this same presence of royalty and went on to influence court portrait painting greatly.
This style made Moro an appealing artist to that of Royalty and he was invited to England to complete a portrait of Mary Tudor, the Queen (1516 – 1558). The piece has followed the Queen throughout history books with mention of her, in a regal and noble depiction. While in England, Moro also painted a miniature of the Queen and a portrait of her sister, Elizabeth I (Mary’s Successor), as well as portraits of Sir Henry Sidney and Simon Renard, an Ambassador.
Acquiring a fair amount of wealth, Moro settled back in the Netherlands, in Utrecht, and continued to paint. In Holland he completed a portrait of the Dutch prince, William the Silent. It was at this time, after 1554, that Moro painted his highly regarded Self-Portrait, which now hangs in the Uffizi Gallery. He did not slow his pace in these later years painting several portraits and remained in Antwerp until death. Moro’s legacy lasts in the many historical figures he painted for, and also in teaching Alonso Sánchez Coello, who went on to become a leading portrait painter in the Spanish Renaissance.