Head of a Classical Poet (Socrates ?) - Painting by Pier Francesco Mola
See this artwork in context
View In Room
1 of 2 images

Pier Francesco Mola
Head of a Classical Poet (Socrates ?)


Although born in Ticino, in a town now part of Switzerland, Mola was definitively a Roman artist, his family having moved to Rome in 1616 when his father was appointed architect to the Camera Apostolica. Other than two extended trips outside the city, one a two-year stay in Bologna where he worked with Francesco Albani, Mola remained in Rome for his entire life. Mola's oeuvre ranges from ambitious religious compositions to evocative landscapes, often with diminutive figures providing a suggestion of subject matter. Among his most attractive and memorable paintings, however, are half-length and bust-format depictions of ancient literary figures. These vary in identity but have in common the depiction of an elderly bearded figure, often in contemplative or ecstatic attitude, his head crowned with laurel. These figures are characterized by a vigorously executed, richly nuanced physiognomy. Some with vacant eyes and a stringed instrument are traditionally called Homer (Rome, National Gallery; Dresden Gemäldegalerie, Moscow, Pushkin Museum; Ariccia, Palazzo Chigi); others Virgil (Milan, Koelliker Collection), Archimedes (Dresden), or Euclid (Private Collection). Many have only generic titles, such as an "Old Man," a "Mathematician," "Astronomer," "Poet," or a "Philosopher." The subject of the present work has traditionally been considered Socrates, a figure that Mola treated in his multi-figure composition of Socrates Instructing the Young on Self-Knowledge (Lugano, Museo Civico), but there is little internal evidence in the present painting to confirm that. He is very much an ancient literary type, and certainly a Mola type -that of the wise, authoritative, somewhat romantic poet. The attribution of the present work to Pier Francesco Mola was confirmed on first-hand inspection by Dr. Erich Schleier (in July 2011) and by Dr. Francesco Petrucci (in February 2012), who considers the painting a late work dating from the 1660s.


  • Artist
    Pier Francesco Mola (1612-1666, Italian)
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Condition
  • Condition Details
  • Dimensions
    H 19.5 in. x W 14.375 in.H 49.53 cm x W 36.52 cm
  • Gallery Location
    New York, NY
  • Reference Number
Buyer Protection Guaranteed
Our Promise To You: If you're not happy with the way an item arrived, we'll work with the seller on your behalf to ensure you're satisfied with the resolution. Read more

Delivery, Returns & Payment

  • Delivery
    Rates vary by destination and complexity

    Some items may require special handling and packaging. Request a shipping quote to see what options are available to your destination.

  • Return Policy

    This item cannot be returned.

    View details
  • Online Payment Methods
    1stdibs accepts the following payment methods
  • Item Invoice
    Generate an invoice that you can customize and print.

About the Seller

No Reviews Yet
1stdibs seller since 2012
Located in New York, NY
You may also contact the seller by phoneCall seller through 1stdibs
More From This Seller
Head of a Youth
17th Century Baroque Portrait Paintings
Paper, Oil, Wood Panel
This work was painted in oil on paper and then laid down on a wood panel. Sale, Sotheby’s, Monaco, June 20, 1989, lot 536, as “Entourage d’Annibale Carrache”; sold to Piero Corsini,...
Portrait of George and Edward Finch-Hatton in V...
David Martin
18th Century and Earlier Paintings
Canvas, Oil
Appointed Portrait Painter to the Prince of Wales in Scotland in 1785, David Martin was the leading Scottish portrait painter of his generation. The artist is best known in the Unite...
David with the Head of Goliath
Pietro Dandini
18th Century and Earlier Old Masters Figurative Paintings
Canvas, Oil
Provenance: Private Collection, Santa Fe, NM The figure of David was, as is well known, particularly popular in the city of Florence during the Renaissance period. Numerous paint...
Portrait of a Young Lady
Domenico Tintoretto
Canvas, Oil
Like many family-trained artists, Domenico Tintoretto began his career assisting his renowned father, Jacopo Tintoretto, in his Venice workshop. In 1576, when Domenico was seventeen ...
You May Also Like
Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Pier Francesco Mola
Mid-17th Century Baroque Figurative Paintings
Attributed to Pier Francesco MOLA, called Il TICINESE (1612-1666) Rest on the Flight into Egypt oil on canvas 25.5 x 27 inches including frame Pier Francesco Mola, called Il Ticines...
Large 19th Century oil painting portrait of Fan...
Natale Schiavoni
Mid-19th Century Baroque Portrait Paintings
Canvas, Oil
This exceptional antique oil painting by Natale Schiavoni depicts a full length nude female figure, Fanny Elssler, who reclines on a wooden chaise lounge. The woman's pose and settin...
Figure with White Collar
Ray Donley
2010s Baroque Portrait Paintings
Canvas, Oil
"Figure with White Collar" by Ray Donley is a 16 inch by 20 inch baroque style oil on canvas, featuring a woman with a fine lace white collar. Ray Donley attended The University of...
Baroque Portrait
Ray Donley
2010s Baroque Portrait Paintings
Canvas, Oil
"Baroque Portrait" by Ray Donley is a 24 inch by 18 inch an oil painting on canvas. Ray Donley attended The University of Texas at Austin, graduating summa cum laude in 1981. He co...
Baroque Portrait No. 81
Ray Donley
21st Century and Contemporary Baroque Portrait Paintings
Canvas, Oil
"Baroque Portrait No. 81" by Ray Donley is an oil painting on canvas, created in 2016. This painting measures 24 inch by 24 inches square. Ray Donley attended The University of Tex...
Pair 17th Century Dutch Portraits Aristocratic ...
Dutch Antique
Late 17th Century Baroque Portrait Paintings
Canvas, Oil
The 17th Century Couple Dutch School, circa 1670's pair of oil paintings on canvas laid over board, framed each frame: 16 x 14 inches provenance: private European collection Fine qu...
The Slavic Girl
Matthew Collins
21st Century and Contemporary Baroque Portrait Paintings
Canvas, Oil
A truly gorgeous piece which captures Collins' superb mastery of modern baroque. From the artist: "Art’s purpose is to explore our inner existence and make it visible. Engaging t...
St. John the Evangelist
Matthew Collins
21st Century and Contemporary Baroque Portrait Paintings
Canvas, Linen, Oil, Wood
A beautiful portrait set in an ornate wooden frame.

Why Shop on 1stdibs?

Learn More

Only Vetted, Professional Sellers

Buyer Protection Guaranteed

Fully Insured Global Deliveries