- Museum number
Homer dictating his poetry; seated to front, trees behind
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash
- Production date
Height: 125 millimetres
Width: 97 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Petrucci implies a slightly later date than Turner, in the early-mid 1660s.
Lit.: N. Turner, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Roman Baroque Drawings', London, 1999, I, no. 224; F. Petrucci, 'Pier Francesco Mola (1612-1666): materia e colore nella pittura del '600', Rome, 2012, p. 385.
The drawing has been connected with Mola's half-length picture of the subject in the Galleria Nazionale, Palazzo Corsini, Rome (see Cocke, 1972(a), pp. 55 ff, no.43; Lugano and Rome, 1989-90, no. 1.36), in which the figure of the youthful amanuensis appears on the left. The Rome picture, of which there are a number of copies and variants (for which see Lugano and Rome, 1989-90, p. 195), is hard to interpret because of its poor condition, but, at the very least, it must reflect a composition by Mola of the subject. The picture has been dated by Cocke (1972(a)) towards the end of the artist's career, that is after 1660, but there seems to be no particularly strong reason why it should not have been painted earlier, in the late 1650s, as is suggested by the fluency in technique of the drawing. Rowlands (1964) believed that the drawing's existence demonstrated the artist's intention to paint a full-length version of the subject.
The horizontal and vertical lines at the top, bottom and lower right edges of the sheet would seem to indicate the outer extremities of the composition. The line immediately above Homer's head might be an alternative for the composition's upper edge, except that this line forms the base of a rectangular 'window' surrounding the tree-tops. The vertical lines at the top left apparently form a column, the base of which is also vaguely suggested.
Literature: Rowlands, 1964, p. 274, pl. 25a; Cocke, 1972(a), p.55, under no.43, pl. 140; Genty, 1979, p. 150; Turner, 1987, p. 7; Lugano and Rome, 1989-90, no.III.63.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1989 Sep-Nov, Museo Cantonale d'Arte, Lugano, 'Mola', no. III.63
1991 Jan-April, BM, Recent Acquisitions (no cat.)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number