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Pier Francesco Mola (Coldrerio, near Lugano 1612-1666)
Property from a European Private Collection
Pier Francesco Mola (Coldrerio, near Lugano 1612-1666)

The Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist: Madonna del Latte

Details
Pier Francesco Mola (Coldrerio, near Lugano 1612-1666)
The Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist: Madonna del Latte
oil on canvas
29 5/8 x 24 in. (75.3 x 61 cm.)
Provenance
John Crewe (1742-1829), 1st Baron Crewe, Crewe Hall, Cheshire, by whom acquired during his Grand Tour, and by descent to
Robert Crewe-Milnes (1858-1945), 1st Marquess of Crewe, and by descent to his grandsons,
James Colin Crewe (1922-2015) and Quentin Hugh Crewe (1926-1998); Christie's, London, 9 July 1976, lot 162.
with Matthiesen, London, from 1981 to 1986.
Anonymous sale; Finarte, Lugano, 16 May 1992, lot 21.
with Bruno Scardeoni, Lugano, from whom acquired by the present owner.
Literature
D. Ekserdjian, Correggio, Cinisello Balsamo, 1997, pp. 144, 307, note 18.
L. de Frutos, El tempo de la fama: Alegoría del Marqués del Carpio, Madrid, 2009, p. 379.
F. Petrucci, Pier Francesco Mola (1612-1666): Materia e colore nella pittura del '600, Rome, 2012, pp. 304-305, no. B45.
Exhibited
London, Matthiesen Fine Art, Important Italian Baroque Paintings 1600-1700: An exhibition in aid of restoration of the Guarino paintings at Solofra and the Giottesque frescoes in Sta. Chiara, Naples, 1981, no. 30.
London, Matthiesen Fine Art, Baroque III 1620-1700, 13 June-15 August 1986, no. 13

Lot Essay

Pier Francesco Mola’s Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist is inspired by Correggio’s celebrated Madonna del Latte, painted over a century earlier in 1520, and now in the Szépmuvészeti Múzeum, Budapest (fig. 1). Correggio’s prototype was evidently much admired and once belonged to Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini (1571-1621), noted in the inventory of his collection as early as 1603 (Petrucci, loc. cit.). Mola is not the only painter to have been inspired by Correggio’s superb representation: the painting was captured by Sir Anthony van Dyck in a pen and ink drawing, while in the Aldobrandini collection (sold Sotheby’s, London, 9 April 1981, lot 23) and was similarly emulated by Annibale Carracci, Anton Domenico Gabbiani and Baciccio (Petrucci, op. cit.).
Correggio’s Madonna was inherited by Olimpia Aldobrandini, Princess of Rossana – who would go on to marry Camillo Francesco Maria Pamphilj (1622-1666) – and gifted to Cinzio Aldobrandini, before passing to one Gottifredo Periberti by 1652 and was later sold by Mutio Orsini in 1682 to Gaspar Méndez de Haro (1629-1687), 7th Marchese del Carpio. It is most likely that Mola saw Correggio’s original when it was in the Periberti collection, though he may equally have seen a copy of the painting, perhaps that belonging to Olimpia Aldobrandini's husband, Camillo Pamphilj, and listed in his inventory of 1652 (F. Cappelletti and G. Capitelli, I capolavori della collezione Doria Pamphilj da Tiziano a Vela´zquez, Milan, 1996, p. 71, no. 5). In fact, Mola painted a further version of the present painting, of smaller proportions and on panel, also in the collection of Camillo Pamphilj (Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome). The Pamphilj version is mentioned in his inventory of the villa at Belrespiro of 6 September 1666, 'Un quadro in tavola con una Madonna, et un Bambino in braccia alto palmi 1 in circa palmi largo 1 con sua Cornice intagliata, che vi sono due gigli, e due Palombe tutta dorata fondo granito mano del Mola' ('A picture on panel with a Madonna, and a Child in her arms, around 1 palm high and 1 palm wide, with its carved Frame, which has two lilies, and two Doves, all gilded, granite background, hand of Mola'; J. Garms, Quellen aus dem Archiv Doria-Pamphilj zur Kunsttätigkeit in Rom unter Innocenz X, Rome and Vienna, 1972, p. 348).

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