Francesco Mochi

Francesco Mochi

's father, Pietro, as well as later with the son.


Mochi worked with Stefano Maderno on a prominent papal commssion, the Cappella Paolina in Santa Maria Maggiore, where he contributed his still somewhat immature "Saint Matthew and the Angel", in travertine.

His first major work was the "Annunciation of the Virgin by the Angel", composed of two statues (the "Angel" completed 1605, the "Virgin Annunciate", 1608, [Dates from Ian Wardropper, "A New Attribution to Francesco Mochi," "Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies" (1991:102-119, 179), which summarises Mochi's career (pp 106f) in attributing to him an idealised "Bust of a Youth" at the Art Institute of Chicago.] [ Orvieto, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo] ). "A fanfare raising sculpture from its slumber", as Rudolph Wittkower called it, [Wittkower, "Art and Architecture in Italy, 1600-1750" 3rd ed. (Penguin) 1973:85.] it prefigures the baroque with its restrained emotiveness.Mochi was one of the few seventeenth-century sculptors who was also a master bronze-caster. [Jennifer Montagu, "A Model by Francesco Mochi for the 'Saint Veronica'" "The Burlington Magazine", 124 No. 952, Special Issue in Honour of Terence Hodgkinson (July 1982):430-437) p. 430.] He made two masterly equestrian bronze statues of Ranuccio and Alessandro Farnese in Piazza Cavalli, Piacenza. "Ranuccio Farnese", 1612-20, and "Alessandro Farnese", 1620-29, are among the high points of his career. He returned from Piacenza to Rome, where he found Bernini fully in charge of major commissions, and a current fully-developed Baroque style with which Mochi was now out of touch. His late Roman works are the "Christ Receiving Baptism" [ [ (image)] ] (1635 or later, Ponte Mello, Rome); "Taddeus" (1641-44, Orvieto), and "Saints Peter and Paul" (1638-52, Porta del Popolo), and "Saint Martha" for the Barberini family chapel at Sant'Andrea della Valle (1609-1621).

"Saint Veronica" in the Crossing of St Peter's Basilica

One of the four massive sculptures in the crossing of St. Peter's Basilica, the statue of the frantic "Saint Veronica" displaying the by then lost Veil of Veronica (1629-40 [The decision to commission the stucco model for the "Veronica" from Mochi was reached 10 December 1629, the last payment for it received 15 March 1632; after delays in securing a suitable block of marble, the three sections of the completed sculpture were carried to St. Peters in the summer of 1639; the last payment is recorded 8 March 1646.(Montagu 1982:430)] ) is the best-known [ Montagu 1982.] masterpiece by Mochi, in the most prominent position. The other three are François Duquesnoy's (Saint Andrew), Bernini's (Saint Longinus), and Andrea Bolgi's (St Helena).

Of the four, Mochi's is the least appropriate to its site and topic, the most idiosyncratic and original. Bernini's "Longinus" is an intermediary between the sober but contorting classicism of Bolgi and Duquesnoy and the emotive dynamism of Mochi. Mochi's passionate depiction appears oversteps the decorum of the place. The other statues [Irvin Lavin, "Bernini and the Crossing of St Peter's" (New York) 1968:21, etc.] exude the equanimity of passionate triumphal Catholicism, celebrated here in the center of the mother church. The frantic pitch of the "Veronica" [Giovanni Battista Passeri ("Vite dei pittori...) remarked that it violated the very concept of "statue", as something static.] seems to attempt to storm into the circle of dramatic setpieces, with a shrill fervor. Mochi, in a letter pleading for completion of his payments, remarked that he had laboured "con ogni studio" in order "to stamp his old age with a memorable work". [Quoted Montagu 1982:430; his "old age" was an exaggeration.]

Mochi's modern reinterpretation stems in part from interest in him that was renewed by the exhibition "Francesco Mochi 1580-1654" (Montevarchi, Piacenza, Rome) 1981



*cite book | first= Rudolf|last= Wittkower|authorlink=Rudolf Wittkower| year=1980| title= Art and Architecture in Italy, 1600-1750| editor= | publisher=Penguin Books

External links

* [ Bigraphic entry]
* [ WGA entry]

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