LOO, César van
(b. 1743, Paris, d. 1821, Paris)


Jules César Denis van Loo, French painter. He was a landscape painter and occasional portraitist who represented the fourth and last generation of an illustrious dynasty of painters and draftsmen of Dutch origin. He was the son of Carle van Loo and his Italian-born wife, the opera singer Cristina Somis (1704-1785).

A pupil of his father, he competed several times for the Prix de Rome, which he never won. However, through his family's connections he was granted a stipend that allowed him to study for a time in Italy. In 1784, he was elected to membership in the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture upon presentation of two diploma pictures in the manner of Joseph Vernet, stormy and moonlit landscapes. Thereafter, he exhibited regularly at the Salons held biennially in the Louvre.

In 1791, César emigrated to Turin where he worked for the Piedmontese court. In northern Italy his work was strongly influenced by the wintery landscapes of Francesco Foschi (1710-1780), and by the end of the 1790s he was specializing in snow scenes. In 1799, he sent to the Paris Salon a work usually considered to be his masterpiece, Snow Effects on the Ruins of a Gothic Church with a Bridge in the Distance (Musée National du Château, Fontainebleau).