The J. Paul Getty Museum

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

Object Number:



194 × 136.8 cm (76 3/8 × 53 7/8 in.)

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Object Description

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
- 1989

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


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

Mostre di Quadri a S. Salvatore in Lauro: Stime di Collezioni Romane (1692) (see Da Marchi, 1987)
  • Unknown, 1692
Il Seicento europeo: Realismo, classicismo, barocco (December 1, 1956 to January 31, 1957)
  • Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Comune di Roma (Rome), December 1, 1956 to January 31, 1957

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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 (1928), pp. 73-75, fig. 18.

Voss, Hermann. "Pier Francesco Mola." In Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker, eds. 37 vols. (Leipzig: Seeman, 1907-50), vol. 25 (1931), p. 28.

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

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

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

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Pier Francesco Mola, 1612-1666, exh. cat. (Lugano: Museo Cantonale d'Arte, with Electa, 1989), p. 83, entry by Erich Schleier; pp. 266-67, entry by Nicolas Turner.

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