Pier Francesco Mola, The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, a drawing

Italy, around AD 1650s

A scene from Genesis

This dramatic scene is painted with a broad brush and using dark brown wash. A flying figure, which may have a serpent's tail and horns, hovers over two figures below and gestures dramatically upwards. One of the clothed figures raises an arm in fright while the other figure perhaps holding a bundle of clothes or a baby looks on. Traditionally it has been identified as the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, a subject which Mola (1612-66) is recorded as having painted on the ceiling of the Palazzo Sonnino in Rome. Mola's version of the story differs markedly from the Biblical description.

Mola was from Ticino in Switzerland and moved to Rome in 1616. He also worked in Northern Italy later where he acquired a good knowledge of Venetian and Bolognese paintings. The influence of the artist Guercino is particularly evident in his use of emphatic light and shade, indicated by dark fluid washes, as well as his liking for caricature. In this drawing, the broad brush strokes define the intense shadows in differing degrees of depth. White paper is left untouched for the effect of bright light pen is used only for rapid touches to the figures.

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N. Turner, Italian drawings in the Depa-4 (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)


Height: 247.000 mm
Width: 196.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1946-7-13-88



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