Trasteverines Playing Ruzzola (Ruzzica)

Bartolomeo Pinelli

  • Trasteverines Playing Ruzzola (Ruzzica) 2
  • Trasteverines Playing Ruzzola (Ruzzica) 3
Basic information
Bartolomeo Pinelli
Trasteverines Playing Ruzzola (Ruzzica)
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 version of the composition under the title Trasteverini. giocando alla Ruzzica was performed by B. Pinelli for the album Raccolta di cinquanta costumi pittoreschi (Collection of fifty picturesque costumes engraved in strong water) published in 1809. Ruzzola (ruzzica) players are represented there in the background of the ruins’ fragments of ancient Rome. In the simplified version (without the ancient Roman architectural background) presented, in particular, in the Lviv collection, Pinelli's engraving has been known since 1816. It was published in the album Nuova Raccolta di Cinquanta costumi pittoreschi incisi di acqua forte released in Rome in 1817. The composition is from a series of Roman entertainments. Five young men are playing ruzzola. The most stocky of them, which is depicted in the center, is about to throw a disk with a head of cheese along the road. Another one on the left is preparing his disk for the game. The composition is intense and dynamic; the drawing is skillful and light. The engraving is painted in bright watercolor paints, with prevailing red, blue, yellow, and green colors. In the title the author emphasizes that the players are residents of the Trastevere district, where Bartolomeo Pinelli came from and where he lived. Ruzzola is a traditional Italian game with wooden disks thrown along the road. In the provinces of Lazio, Terra di Lavoro, Abruzzo, and Marche, the game was called ruzzica. A head of hard pecorino cheese was placed into the disk.
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 work’s title Trasteverini. giocando alla Ruzzica. There is a number "15" in the upper right corner above the image.