Pier Francesco Mola (Coldrerio, near Lugano 1612-1666)
Pier Francesco Mola (Coldrerio, near Lugano 1612-1666)

Saint Andrew

Details
Pier Francesco Mola (Coldrerio, near Lugano 1612-1666)
Saint Andrew
oil on canvas
25 ½ x 19 ¼ in. (64.8 x 48.9 cm.)
Provenance
(Probably) Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna, 8th Duke and Prince of Paliano (1637–1689), Rome, and by descent to
(Probably) Filippo II Colonna, 9th Duke and Prince of Paliano (1663-1714), Rome.
Anonymous sale; Stockholms Auktionsverk, Stockholm, 29 November 2007, lot 2441, as Attributed to Pier Francesco Mola, where acquired by the present owner.
Literature
F. Petrucci, Pier Francesco Mola (1612-1666): Materia e colore nella pittura del '600, Rome, 2012, p. 326, no. B66.

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Lot Essay

Recently rediscovered, this dramatic rendering of Saint Andrew was published for the first time by Francesco Petrucci in his monograph on the artist in 2012. It dates to the early 1650s, shortly after Mola's return to Rome from Venice and Bologna, where he had spent two years with Francesco Albani and acquired a deep knowledge of the work of Guercino. Both the palette and the monumentality of the bearded figure of Saint Andrew are profoundly indebted to the older, Emilian artist.

During this period, the grander figural style evident in his public commissions was also reflected in his smaller-scale paintings, such as the present work. He enjoyed commercial success with a number of distinguished collectors, among them Pope Alexander VII and the Colonna family and, indeed, the work is very probably identifiable with a work listed in inventory of Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna in 1664, on account of its subject and dimensions: “Quadro in tela di testa, con la testa di S.to Andrea, opera del Mola con sua Cornice grande tutta lavorata d’intaglio, et un festone attorno, dorata tutta” (a bust-length painting on canvas, with the head of Saint Andrew, by Mola, with a large, gilt frame carved with a festoon) (see E.A. Safarik, Collezione dei dipinti Colonna; inventari 1611-1795, Munich, 1996, p. 95, n. 130). The same picture is featured in the inventory of 1679 (op. cit. p. 129, n. 190), and again, in the Filippo II Colonna’s 1714 inventory together with the head of a woman (op. cit. p. 342, n. 1551).

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