Aaron - Art History

Art History

Depictions of Aaron within art history are rare. Other than Aaron's inclusion in the crowd of revelers around the Golden Calf ceremony—most notably in Nicolas Poussin’s "The Adoration of the Golden Calf" (ca. 1633–34, National Gallery London)—there is little else. The recent discovery in 1991 of Pier Francesco Mola’s "Aaron, Holy to the Lord" (ca. 1650, Private Collection, New York: image available for study at Fred R. Kline Gallery Archives) adds to the Aaronic mythos. The painting offers a portrayal of the single figure of Aaron in his priestly garments celebrating Yom Kippur in the wilderness Tabernacle. The Mola "Aaron" is considered the unique single figure of Aaron to have been painted by an old master artist, circa 15th–18th centuries (A.Pigler, "Barockthemen" Vol. 1; although unknown to Pigler). The carefully rendered Judaic iconographic details in the Mola painting are rare and may have importance in relationship to mid-17th century Jewish history, and the subsequent involvement of the Catholic Church in that controversy. "Aaron, Holy to the Lord" was originally commissioned along with a now lost pendant of Moses (both from Mola) by the nobel Colonna family, wealthy Catholic art patrons living in Rome.

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