Pier Francesco MOLA - 1612 – 1666
Joseph and his Brethren in Egypt
Roman School

Pen and brown ink over red chalk

18.3 x 26.1 cm

Euro : 6400,-

Pier Francesco Mola, born in Coldrerio in 1612, spent his formative years in Rome, influenced by the classicism of the Carracci and the late Mannerism of such artists as Cavaliere d'Arpino, whose pupil he was. He was later active in the workshop of Francesco Albani and went on a short formative trip to Venice before returning to Rome. There he came under the protection of Pope Innocent X for whom he did several important works in the church del Gesu. Later he was supported by Pope Alexander VII and Queen Christina of Sweden. Pier Francesco Mola was a meticulous draughtsman who would frequently go out into the countryside to draw landscapes from life in order to incorporate them later into his paintings. He died in Rome in 1666.

The present drawing belongs to a group of preparatory drawings by Pier Francesco Mola for his fresco in the Quirinal Palace in Rome, in the Galleria di Alessandro VII, which is dated between 1656 and 1657. The sequence of preliminary drawings starts with the drawing at the British Museum (inv.1857-6-13-367) and the one at the Musée des Beaux Arts in Dijon (inv.no.170), where most of the brothers stand as Joseph to the left clutches Benjamin and the variation on this which was with Sotheby's in London in July 1984, where Joseph raises his left hand in greeting to the brothers, the bulk of whom now kneel. The present drawing represents the first major variation with Joseph's arms thrown wide in greeting to two kneeling groups. That on the right finds parallel in the Stockholm drawing (inv.no.565/1863) of kneeling figures. Mola continues by combining this gesture studied in the individual drawings of him moving forwards from the left with the grouping of the earlier drawings used in the Louvre design and the drawings close to the fresco, in the British Museum (inv.no.1853-10-8-10) and in a private collection in Paris.

The composition is taken from Genesis XXXVII.

The attribution and connection to the Quirinal Palace composition has been confirmed by Prof. Richard Cocke in a communication dated May 25th, 2007.

The attribution has also been confirmed by Mr. Francesco Petrucci, Conservatore Palazzo Chigi in Ariccia, in a written communication dated 19th March, 2012.

Publication :
Francesco Petrucci. “Pier Francesco Mola (1612-1666). Materia e colore nella pittura del 600”. Ugo Bozzi Publisher, Roma, 2012.

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