Gerard ter Borch (II) & Gesina ter Borch: Memorial Portrait of Moses ter Borch (1667-1669)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Remembering someone who you have lost is something of all times. This Portrait was made to commemorate such a person. The individual on the painting is Moses ter Borch, a young Dutch artist who served as a marine during in the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-1667). On 12 July 1667 he was killed at Fort Languard near Felixstowe in England during the aftermath of the Raid on the Medway. His half-brother Gerard ter Borch and half-sister Gesina ter Borch created this memorial portrait to remember their youngest brother. The painting is full of symbols: Moses is dressed in his military uniform, the 2 dogs refer to loyalty, his walking stick reflect his status, the helmet and armour refer to his military life. Other symbols - The pocket watch (time), the skull (death), the ivy (eternity), the snake which is about to strike him (also a symbol of death). The butterfly, the flute and snail are symbols of the frailness of life. This is a very personal portrait which was kept in the painters family for years. This painting is from 1667-1669.