The Vision of Saint Bruno

Object Details


The Vision of Saint Bruno


Pier Francesco Mola (Italian, 1612 - 1666)




Italy (Place created)


about 1660


Oil on canvas


194 x 136.8 cm (76 3/8 x 53 7/8 in.)

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During his devotions in the wilderness, Saint Bruno, the founder of the Carthusian order, a monastic community committed to solitary meditation, experienced a vision. Gazing intensely up at the sky, the saint tentatively reaches out to touch the mystical illusion of angels appearing in the sky. To the left, two tall trees cross each other at an angle, forming a cross. Below the rolling clouds, hills and land gently recede into the distance.

The painter Pier Francesco Mola won fame in Rome for his rich landscapes and dramatic cloud formations, based on the Venetian landscape tradition. He painted Saint Bruno's white robes with long, smooth vertical sweeps of the brush, creating a landscape of the soft, heavy fabric.

about 1660 - 1693

Cardinal Flavio Chigi, 1631 - 1693 (Rome, Italy), commissioned from the artist, about 1660; by inheritance to Agostino Chigi, 1693.

1693 - 1705

Agostino Chigi, Prince, Italian, 1634 - 1705 (Rome, Italy), by inheritance within the Chigi family, 1705.

1705 -

Chigi Family (Rome, Italy), by inheritance to Eleonora Chigi Incisa della Rocchetta.

by 1956 -

Eleonora Chigi, Marchesa Incisa della Rocchetta (Rome, Italy), by inheritance to Giovanni Incisa della Rocchetta.

- 1980

Giovanni, Marchese Incisa della Rocchetta, died 1980 (Rome, Italy), by inheritance within the Incisa della Rochetta family, 1980.

1980 - still in 1987

Incisa della Rocchetta Family (Rome, Italy)

- 1989

Private Dealer (or Private Collection) (Switzerland), possibly sold to Whitfield Fine Art, Ltd., 1989.


Whitefield Fine Art Limited (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1989.

Mostre di Quadri a S. Salvatore in Lauro: Stime di Collezioni Romane (1692) (No cat. no.; see Da Marchi, 1987)
  • Unknown, 1692
Il Seicento europeo: Realismo, classicismo, barocco (December 1, 1956 to January 31, 1957) (Cat. 210)
  • Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Comune di Roma, (Rome)

Pascoli, Lione. Vite de' pittori, scultori, ed architetti moderni. Vol. 1 (1933; facsimile, Rome: E. Calzone, 1730) p. 125.

Platner, Ernst, et al. Beschreibung der Stadt Rom. Vol. 3 (Stuttgart and Tübingen: J.G. Cotta'schen Buchhandlung, 1842) p. 324.

Pistolesi, Erasmo. Descrizione di Roma e suoi contorni (Rome: Giovanni Gallarini, 1844) p. 81.

Arslan, Wart. "Opere Romane di Pier Francesco Mola." Bollettino d'Arte 22, no. 7 (January 1928) pp. 73-75, fig. 18.

Voss, Hermann. "Pier Francesco Mola." In Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Thieme, Ulrich, and Felix Becker, eds. 37 vols. (Leipzig: Verlang von E.A. Seeman, 1907-1950), vol. 25 (1931) p. 28.

Waterhouse, Ellis K. Baroque Painting in Rome (London: Macmillan & Co., 1937) p. 83.

Sestieri, Ettore. Catalogo della Galleria ex-fidecommissaria Doria-Pamphilj (Rome: Palazzo Doria-Pamphilij, 1942) pp. 116-17, no. 161.

Il Seicento Europeo: Realismo, classicismo, barocco, exh. cat. (Rome: Palazzo delle Esposizioni, with De Luca Editore, 1956) p. 187, no. 210.

Dobroklonskii, Mikhail Vasil'Evich. Drawings of the Italian School: 17th-18th Centuries (Leningrad: Hermitage, 1961) p. 170, no. 1104.

Waterhouse, Ellis. Italian Baroque Painting: A List of the Principal Painters and their Works in and around Rome (London: Phaidon, 1962) p. 66.

Czobor, Agnes. "On some late works of Pier Francesco Mola." Burlington Magazine 110, no. 787 (October 1968) pp. 569-70.

Rudolph, Stella. "Contributo per Pier Francesco Mola." Arte Illustrata 15/16 (March-April 1969) pp. 22-24, fig. 16.

Cocke, Richard. Pier Francesco Mola (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972) pp. 14, 37, 39, 40, 41-42, 44-45, 48, 52, 56-57, 66, no. 45, fig. 136.

Rudolph, Stella. "Pier Francesco Mola: la monografia di R. Cocke e nuovi contributi." Arte illustrata 5 (September 1972) p. 350.

Graf, Dieter. Master Drawings of the Roman Baroque from the Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf: A Selection from the Lambert Krahe Collection (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973) under no. 106.

Harris, Ann Sutherland. Review of Pier Francesco Mola, by Richard Cocke. The Art Bulletin 56, no. 2 (June 1974) p. 291.

Waterhouse, Ellis. Roman Baroque Painting (Oxford: Phaidon, 1976) p. 96.

Harris, Ann Sutherland. Andrea Sacchi: Complete Edition of the Paintings with a Critical Catalogue (Oxford: Phaidon, 1977) pp. 25, 42n113.

Salerno, Luigi. Pittori di paesaggio del seicento a Roma: Landscape painters of the seventeenth century in Rome. 3 vols. (Rome: Ugo Bozzi Editore, 1977-1980), vol. 2 (1981) pp. 572, 575, fig. 88.2.

Genty, Jean. Pier Francesco Mola pittore (Lugano: Trelingue Porza-Lugano, 1979) pp. 47, 49.

Brejon de Lavergnée, Arnauld, and Dominique Thiébaut. Catalogue sommaire illustré des peintures du musée du Louvre: Italie, Espagne, Allemagne, Grande-Bretagne et divers. 5 vols. (Paris: Editions de la Réunion, 1979-1986), vol. 2 (1981) p. 207.

Grigorieva, I., J. Kuznetsov, and I. Novoselskaja. Disegni dell'Europa occidentale dall'Ermitage di Leningrado (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 1982) p. 27.

Harris, Ann Sutherland. Landscape Painting in Rome 1595-1675, exh. cat. (New York: Richard L. Feigen & Co., 1985) p. 240.

Genty, Jean. Pier Francesco Mola nelle collezioni private svizzere, exh. cat. (Lugano: Bruno Scardeoni Antiquario, 1986) pp. 14-16, ill.

Brejon de Lavergnée, Arnauld. L'inventaire Le Brun de 1683: La collection des tableaux de Louis XIV (Paris: Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1987) p. 449, no. 469, ill.

De Marchi, Giulia. Mostre di quadri a S. Salvatore in Lauro (1682-1725), Stime di collezioni romane (Rome: Presso la Società alla Biblioteca Vallicelliana, 1987) p. 43.

Pier Francesco Mola, 1612-1666, exh. cat. (Lugano: Museo Cantonale d'Arte, with Electa, 1989) p. 83, entry by Erich Schleier; pp. 266-267, entry by Nicolas Turner.

Brigstocke, Hugh. Review of Pier Francesco Mola. Musei Capitolini, Rome. Burlington Magazine 132, no. 1042 (January 1990) p. 62.

Carr, Dawson W. "Ecstasy in the Wilderness: Pier Francesco Mola's 'The Vision of St. Bruno.'" The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 19 (1991) pp. 99-126, figs. 1a-d.

Brigstocke, Hugh, and John Somerville. Italian Paintings from Burghley House (Alexandria, VA: Art Services International, 1995) p. 116, under no. 40, fig. 1.

Mitchell, Paul, and Lynn Roberts. Frameworks: Form, Function and Ornament in European Portrait Frames (London: P. Mitchell, 1996) pp. 392-93, fig. 300.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 87, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B. et al. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Paintings (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 37, no. 18, ill., entry by Dawson Carr.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001) pp. 106-7, ill.

Allen, Denise, et al. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, with Thames & Hudson, 2003) p. 36, no. 17, ill., entry by Dawson Carr.

Heritage Auction Galleries, Dallas. Important Fine Art. November 2, 2008 p. 17, under lot 63005, ill.

Possanzini, Laura. "Pier Francesco Mola." In Dizionario biografico degli italiani. 81 vols. (Rome: Instituto della enciclopedia italiana, 1960-2014), vol. 75 (2011) p. 313.

Petrucci, Francesco. Pier Francesco Mola (1612-1666): materia e colore nella pittura del '600 (Rome: Ugo Bozzi Editore, 2012) pp. 61, 63, 107, 114-16, 222, 366-68, 369, 370, 371, no. B97, fig. 74.

De Marchi, Andrea G. Mola: il disegno e la pittura. Psicologia e filologia a confronto (Milan: Skira, 2013) p. 115.

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