- Museum number
Landscape with apple tree in the foreground; a church beyond and mountains in the distance
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash
Verso: God the Father with angels, study for a fresco
Pen and brown ink, with grey-brown wash
- Production date
Height: 284 millimetres
Width: 211 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Lit.: N. Turner, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Roman Baroque Drawings', London, 1999, I, no. 212; M. Royalton-Kisch, 'The Light of Nature: Landscape drawings and watercolours by Van Dyck and his contemporaries', exh.cat. Antwerp and London (British Museum), 1999, cat. no. 51; F. Petrucci, 'Pier Francesco Mola (1612-1666): materia e colore nella pittura del '600', Rome, 2012, p. 425, fig. D3.1 (verso).
Voss (1910) was the first to notice that the landscape shows the environs of Coldrerio, Mola's birthplace in the Ticino region of Switzerland. Genty (1968) subsequently pointed out that the view was actually taken from the artist's house, with the apple-tree in the foreground being the tree that stood in the family's back yard, in "n[os]tro Cios" (Swiss-Italian dialect for 'chioso', meaning enclosure or yard). This apple-tree is perhaps the true subject of the drawing, with its trunk assertively occupying much of the composition and the apples among its branches being fondly detailed in pen and ink.
The rapid sketch on the verso is a study, with differences, for the fresco of 'God the Father with Angels' in the centre of the ceiling of the Cappella Nuova in the church of the Madonna del Carmelo at Coldrerio (Genty, 1968, fig. 2; Cocke, 1972(a), p.45; Lugano and Rome, 1989-90, no.II.1); Mola decorated the chapel in 1641-2. In the fresco the composition extends vertically, above and below the central figure, and not horizontally to either side of it, as in the drawing. The painted composition is contained within an elongated oval breaking into a rectangle at the sides, whereas the composition of the drawing is simply confined within an oval, with its main axis on the horizontal. The relationship between the triangle superimposed on the figure of God the Father in the drawing and the design of the fresco is unclear. A vestige of this triangle remains in the painting in the rays emanating from the dove of the Holy Spirit above the head of God the Father.
Cocke (1972(a), p.45) related a drawing in the Uffizi traditionally attributed to Mola (inv.no. 6813 s) to the figure of God the Father in the Coldrerio fresco, but the connection is unconvincing and even Mola's authorship is doubtful.
Literature: Voss, 1910, pp. 207ff.; Voss, 1924, p. 561; London, 1926, p.46, no. 383; Parker, 1927, pp. 23ff., pl. 28; Rowlands, 1964, p. 272; Genty, 1968, pp. 14ff.; Cocke, 1972(a), p.45, under no.7; Genty, 1979, pp. 25ff., no. 1; London, 1984(b), no. 29; Lugano and Rome, 1989-90, no. III.72; London, 1991(b), no. II.5.5.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1984, BM, Landscape in Italy, no. 29
1989 Sep-Nov, Lugano, Mus Cantonale d'Arte, Mola, no. III.72
1991 May-Aug, London, British Library, Swiss Confederation
1999 May-Aug, Antwerp, Rubenshuis, Light of Nature
1999 Sep-Nov, BM, Light of Nature
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Turner 1999
Unidentified collector's mark stamped on a fragment of paper, laid down on the sheet; this is not L 58, the mark of the Earl of Aylesford, as Parker, 1927, pp.23-4, suggested, nor is it L 2600, that of the Earl of Warwick, as Genty, 1968, p. 15, n. 61, supposed.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number