Neapolitan Tarantella

Bartolomeo Pinelli

  • Neapolitan Tarantella 2
  • Neapolitan Tarantella 3
Basic information
Bartolomeo Pinelli
Neapolitan Tarantella
Date of creation
etching watercolor
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
10.3 x 16.1
Information about author
Bartolomeo Pinelli
Artist's lifetime
Bartolomeo Pinelli (1781, Rome – 1835, ibid.) was an Italian painter, engraver, and sculptor. He was a son of the ceramist J. B. Pinelli. Bartolomeo Pinelli was born in ​​Trastevere district (over the River Tiber). Street sketches of that western suburb of Rome repeatedly appeared in his graphic works later. He studied in Bologna, later on – at Accademia di San Luca (Academy of Saint Luke) in Rome. He attended the studio of Felice Giani, an Italian painter of the Neoclassic style, from whom he inherited the style of drawing. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Bartolomeo Pinelli took an interest in the engravings of the Renaissance, namely in the works by Marcantonio Raimondi, and started making etchings and lithographs out of his drawings. In 1809, Pinelli created his first series of watercolor etchings – Collection of 50 picturesque costumes (Raccola di cinquanta costumi pittoreschi). The album was reissued in 1814 and 1815. In 1816, a new version of the album under the title Nuova Raccolta di Cinquanta costumi pittoreschi incisi di acqua forte was released. Most of Lviv's engravings are from this series. The main theme of the artist's creative work is genre scenes (Costumi), which he saw in Rome, Naples, as well as the provinces of Abruzzo and Molise. Pinelli's engravings have not only artistic value but also important ethnographic information. In the 1820s and 1830s, the artist created drawings and engravings for poems by Torquato Tasso (1827–1829) and the novel “Don Quixote” (1834) by Miguel de Cervantes. One of Pinelli's famous series of drawings is Seven Hills of Rome (Sette colli di Roma) (1827–1830). The artist's works are housed in many Italian museums as well as in collections of other countries.
Object description
It’s a version of one of Pinelli's "dance" compositions from the albums Raccolta (1809) and Nuova Raccolta (1816). On some engravings the couple is depicted with additional characters in the background of Naples districts. On a square engraving (actually on a fragment) from the album Peter Bierl Buch- & Kunstantiquariat, Orasburg, Germany, the composition is dated to 1820. Tarantella is the most popular dance in the south of Italy, namely in Naples and Sicily. It’s fast and agile. It’s performed by one or more couples under the accompaniment of guitar, tambourine, and castanet. On Pinelli's engraving, a couple of dancers is depicted in the center of the composition – a gentleman is looking at a lady and tapping the rhythm with castanets, while a woman is lifting up her leg and holding a long dress with her hand. On the left side of the work, a girl is depicted sitting and beating the rhythm on a tambourine. The engraving is brightly painted with blue, red, pink, orange, and yellow watercolors.
In the lower left corner there is the author’s signature – Pinelli, date – 1816 and the place of performance – Roma. In the center of the engraving under the image there is the work’s title Il Ballo Napoletano, detto Tarantella. There is a number "1" in the upper right corner above the image.