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A landscape with figures in the foreground by a large rock; a church and buildings in the trees beyond
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash
Verso: Sheet of figure studies and birds; including two men with laurel crowns and head of a woman looking down to left
Pen and brown ink
In the foreground, figures wearing turbans and wreaths appear beside an ancient altar on the left and a large rock and tree stump in the centre; on the right a draped figure, possibly a woman, stands in profile to the left apparently gazing at the other figures. The mood of a pastoral idyll is subverted by the appearance of an enormous lizard in the lower left foreground, which makes its way towards the figures behind the rock. Almost as enigmatic is the diminutive figure seated on a slab to the right, between the rock and the figure standing in profile.
The studies on the verso include, upper left and centre, three philosophers, one of them holding a globe or armillary sphere and, lower left and centre, two doves, one roosting on a ledge and the other on a large basket or bowl. On the right half of the sheet are, at the top, a study of the head of a bearded man, partly obliterated by an area of smudged brown wash, and a group of caricature heads in profile; in the middle, studies of the head of a girl looking down in profile to the left and of the torso of a man with his head turned away from the spectator; and, at the bottom, a study of a left leg.
- Production date
Height: 185 millimetres
Width: 260 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Lit.: A.E. Popham, 'Catalogue of Drawings in the Collection formed by Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart., F.R.S., now in the possession of his Grandson, T. Fitzroy Phillipps Fenwick of Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham', London, 1935, p. 134, no. 7 (as Attributed to Castiglione); N. Turner, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Roman Baroque Drawings', London, 1999, I, no. 214
The drawing, which entered the Department of Prints and Drawings with the Phillipps-Fenwick collection as attributed to Castiglione, was transferred to Mola by J. A. Gere in March 1954 [See Inscription].
A precise identification of the landscape background, with buildings amongst rocks and trees and a gateway to the right of centre, has yet to be made, and it remains unclear whether or not an actual place was represented (but see 1898,1216.1 and 1946,0713.779). The philosophers [See Object Description] are a type often represented in Mola's paintings, such as 'Astronomer' or 'Mathematician' (private collection, Switzerland; Lugano, 1986, pp. 12-13), and it is conceivable that the doves were drawn in relation to the lunettes that decorate the Gallery of the Palazzo Pamphilj at Nettuno (Tantillo, 1989, fig. 69).
Literature: Popham, 1935, I, p.134, no. 7 (as Castiglione); Lugano, 1986, p. 12 (as Mola); Lugano and Rome, 1989-90, no. III.77.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1984, BM, Landscape in Italy, no. 28
1989/90 Dec-Jan, Museo Capitolini, Rome, 'Mola'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number