Playing Bocce in Rome

Bartolomeo Pinelli

  • Playing Bocce in Rome 2
  • Playing Bocce in Rome 3
Basic information
Bartolomeo Pinelli
Playing Bocce in Rome
Date of creation
etching watercolor
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
10 x 16
Information about author
Bartolomeo Pinelli
Artist's lifetime
Bartolomeo Pinelli (1781, Rome – 1835, ibid.) was an Italian painter, engraver, and sculptor. He was the son of the ceramist G. B. Pinelli. Bartolomeo Pinelli was born in ​​the 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 Academy of Felice Giani, an Italian painter of the Neoclassic style, from whom he inherited the drawing style. 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 the Lviv engravings are from this series. The central 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 carry 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
The first work titled Giuoco di boccia, in Roma was performed by Bartolomeo Pinelli for Raccolta di cinquanta costumi pittoreschi (Collection of fifty picturesque costumes engraved in strong water) published in 1809. Bocce players (bocce means balls, bowls) were represented there against the background of fragments of the ruins of ancient Rome. That composition was published later in Leipzig, in 1840 in the album Pittoreskes Italien. In a simplified version (without an architectural background and with fewer players) it is presented, in particular, in the Lviv collection. This version of Pinelli's engraving has been known since 1816. It was issued in the album Nuova Raccolta di Cinquanta costumi pittoreschi incisi di acqua forte that was published in Rome in 1817. This composition is from a series of Roman entertainments. In front of the brick wall, there are five young men enwrapped in the bowling game. One of them aimed a stone ball in the direction of another one, but failed to hit the target. The opponent in the center points at it, the others closely follow the game. Unlike the multi-figure first etching, this composition is light and dynamic. The engraving is painted with bright watercolor paints, with prevailing red, blue, and green colors. A game of bowls (boccia, bocce meaning to bowl) is a traditional Italian game, which is played with heavy balls and is known since ancient times. In the nineteenth century, it was extended by Italian emigrants in America and Australia.
In the lower left corner there is the author's signature Pinelli f. [fecit]. In the center of the engraving under the image there is the title of the work Il Giuoco di boccia, in Roma. In the upper right corner of the engraving above the plate there is a number "12".