Beggar’s Family

Bartolomeo Pinelli

  • Beggar’s Family 2
  • Beggar’s Family 3
Basic information
Bartolomeo Pinelli
Beggar’s Family
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
It’s a unique version of B. Pinelli's composition "Beggar’s Family". Unlike all other known variants, where a passerby is walking uninterestedly by a woman who is covering her head with a cloth and begging people to help her child, in this composition a rich man, covered with the drapery of a blue coat, is outstretching his hand and giving a coin to a needy family. The work Famiglia indigente was first performed by Pinelli in 1815; then the author repeated it unchanged in 1816. The third version of the engraving was published in the album Pittoreskes Italien in Leipzig in 1840. On that engraving, a man was standing in front of a cloth-covered woman with three children; it was unclear what his next actions would be. In the Lviv version of the composition, a passerby is depicted giving alms. The main character is a cute child who is sleeping peacefully, lying on a crumpled bedding laid just on the pavement. The plump figure of the child is accentuated by a red spot of the bedding. The action is taking place in the evening street of an empty city; the tension is created by dimmed watercolor tones and black emptiness of window openings. The work is generally dominated by a sentimental mood that is typical of early Romanticism.
In the lower right 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 Famiglia indigente. There is a number "19" in the upper right corner above the plate.