Mercy of the Monks

Bartolomeo Pinelli

  • Mercy of the Monks 2
  • Mercy of the Monks 3
Basic information
Bartolomeo Pinelli
Mercy of the Monks
Date of creation
etching watercolor
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
10 x 16.2
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
The first version of the composition by Pinelli titled as La Carità dei Frati, literally The Mercy of the Capuchin Friars, was issued in the album Raccolta di cinquanta costumi pittoreschi (Collection of fifty picturesque costumes engraved in strong water) published in 1809. In that composition, the architectural elements documenting the entrance gate of a specific monastery in Rome were performed in detail. The engraving of 1809 was replicated in the album Pittoreskes Italien published in 1840 in Leipzig. The work presented in the Lviv collection in a slightly modified version has been known since 1816 from the album Nuova Raccolta di Cinquanta costumi pittoreschi incisi di acqua forte. The engraving depicts a Capuchin monk, standing on the threshold in front of the gate of the monastery, pouring hot soup from a jug for the poor and infirm, including vagabonds, cripples, and mothers with children. The simple and fast drawing is painted with contrasting watercolors; the artist used brown and light gray colors in addition to bright ones such as yellow, red, and blue tones. Capuchin Monks or The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (Ordo Fratrum Minorum Capucinorum) is a Catholic order that separated from the Franciscans in the 16th century. The Capuchins were characterized by charity and asceticism. Their clothing consisted of a brown soutane with a hood sewn to it, a rope with a knot on the belt (a symbol of the inviolability of vows), and sandals worn on their bare feet.
In the lower right corner there is the painter's signature Pinelli f. [fecit]. In the center of the engraving under the image there is the title of the work La Carita dei Frati. In the upper right corner of the engraving above the plate there is a number "20".