Mola, Pietro Francesco

Mola, Pietro Francesco an eminent Italian painter and architect, was born in the diocese of Como in 1612. He studied successively under Giuseppe Albano and Guercino. In his earlier life the works of the latter master were greatly admired by him, but subsequently he went to Venice, where he devoted himself to Titian and Veronese. From the result of this course of study he formed a style peculiar to himself, combining parts of all those from whom he had studied, and his fame spread throughout all Italy. He went to Rome in the pontificate of Innocent X, by whom he was immediately employed in executing numerous works, among which are St. Peter delivered from Prison by the Angel and the Conversion of St. Paul, in the chapel of the church Del Gesu. He was also patronized by pope Alexander VII, for whom he painted, in the pontifical palace of Monte Cavallo, his most celebrated work, Joseph making himself known to his Brethren. At Milan are two of his most admired productions, in the church of S. Maria della Vita, St. John in the Wilderness and St. Paul the Hermit. Mrs. Jameson mentions several works by this artist, among which are Jacob wrestling with the Angel, the Meeting, of Jacob and Rachel and the Baptism of Christ, in which an angel is disrobing the Savior. Mola died suddenly at Rome in 1668, while preparing to set out for Paris, whither he had been invited by the king of France, who had appointed him court-painter, with a liberal pension. See Lanzi, Hist. of Painting, transl. by Roscoe, 1:462; 2:535; 3:92; Spooner, Biographical Hist. of the Fine Arts, 2:574; Jameson and Eastlake, History of our Lord, 1:151, 153, 297.

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