Group of Idlers Playing Zecchinetta in Rome

Bartolomeo Pinelli

  • Group of Idlers Playing Zecchinetta in Rome 2
  • Group of Idlers Playing Zecchinetta in Rome 3
Basic information
Bartolomeo Pinelli
Group of Idlers Playing Zecchinetta in Rome
Date of creation
etching watercolor
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
9.9 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 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
In the first version of the composition Comitiva di oziosi, giocando alla Zecchinetta, in Roma, which Bartolomeo Pinelli performed for the album Raccolta di cinquanta costumi pittoreschi (Collection of fifty picturesque costumes engraved in strong water) published in 1809, the author paid special attention to the architectural background (the main thing for the artist was that the event took place in Rome). The players and spectators were depicted sitting and standing with their backs or sides turned to the viewers; without a caption text, it was unclear what they were doing. In the simplified version (without the Roman architectural background) presented, in particular, in the Lviv collection, the main attention is paid to the players and the deck of cards. This etching painted with watercolors has been known since 1816. It was issued in the album Nuova Raccolta di Cinquanta costumi pittoreschi incisi di acqua forte published in Rome in 1817. This composition is from a series of Roman entertainments. In front of the brick wall there are six young men captured by playing zecchinetta. The central character opened the deck of cards in a semicircle. The other characters sitting, standing, and lying next to each other, look intently at the deck of cards accentuated by pink stripes on a gray background. The composition is dynamic; the drawing is light and relaxed. The engraving is painted with watercolor paints, with prevailing dimmed gray, ocher, and black colors, as well as accents of bright red, blue, green, and yellow ones. Zecchinetta (Italian: zecchinetta, French: lansquenet, German: landsknecht) is a card game played in Italy since the 16th century. The name comes from the Italianized form of "landsknechts", the military mercenaries, who popularized the gambling in the 17th century during the Thirty Years' War.
In the lower left corner there is the painter's signature Pinelli f. [fecit], the date 1816, and the place of painting – Rome. In the center of the engraving under the image there is the title of the work Comitiva di oziosi, giocando alla Zecchinetta, in Roma. In the upper right corner of the engraving above the plate there is a number "14".