Pier Francesco Mola
Coldrerio (Canton Ticino), Switzerland, 1612-Rome, 1666
Hagar and Ishmael in the Wilderness, ca. 1657
Oil on canvas.
In a popular story from Genesis, Abraham exiles his mistress, Hagar, and their son, Ishmael, to the wilderness, where they are saved from thirst when an angel shows them a spring. The classical style had come to dominate painting in Rome during the second quarter of the seventeenth century. A painter of Lombard origins, whose style was forged during a period in Venice, Mola reasserted the rich palette, suffused light, and sensory appeal of the early Baroque. His small-scale landscapes, like this one, are especially coherent and warm.