Peter van mol – The Deposition –

Peter van mol – The Deposition

Pieter van Mol or Peter van Mol (17 November 1599 in Antwerp – 8 April 1650 in Paris) was a Flemish painter known for his history paintings of religious subject matter, and to a lesser extent for his allegorical compositions, genre scenes and portraits. His style was profoundly influenced by Rubens, Abraham Janssens and Artus Wolffort. He was court painter to the King and Queen of France.

Pieter van Mol was mainly a painter of religious subject matter, and to a lesser extent, of stories from Antiquity. He also painted portraits and allegorical compositions. He further created genre scenes, but these are only known from reproductive prints and contemporary records.

The style of van Mol is varied ranging from a precise and fixed execution bordering sometimes on the archaic such as in the Lamentation of Christ (Musée des beaux-arts de Valenciennes), which is almost an homage to the Flemish Primitives. Other works such as the Annunciation (Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille) are close to the contemporary work of Philippe de Champaigne. His frescoes in the chapelle du Sacré-Cœur in the Église Saint-Joseph-des-Carmes and the Deposition in the Louvre show his debt to Rubens. The influence is clear in the typically powerful and rather short masculine physiques as well as in his clear and deep palette and the reddish shadows. The influence of Antony van Dyck is also present in his work.

Pieter van Mol was active as a portrait painter but his works in this genre are only known through engravings and some head studies.

Pieter van Mol also painted genre works, but none of these have been preserved. They are known from engravings made after them. A composition entitled Flemish dance was in the collection of the Palais Royal and was engraved by Carl Guttenberg between 1786-1808. It shows ruins with dancing peasants, a couple dancing at the centre, musicians and onlookers to the right and children playing on ruins in the background. One of his works depicting a nude woman was in the collection of Jean Baptiste Pierre Le Brun and an engraving of it was included in a catalog of le Brun’s collection entitled ‘Galerie des peintres flamands hollandais et allemands’ published in 1778. Reportedly, the sale in Antwerp of prints after Pieter van Mol’s work caused something of a scandal as they were considered more indecent than those of Agostino Carracci.