Blind Singer-Musician

Bartolomeo Pinelli

  • Blind Singer-Musician 2
  • Blind Singer-Musician 3
Basic information
Bartolomeo Pinelli
Blind Singer-Musician
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
This composition was first performed by B. Pinelli in 1815. It was issued in the album Nuova Raccolta di cinquanta Costumi Pittoreschi incisi all 'acquaforte da Bartolomeo Pinelli Romano published in 1816 by the publishing house Nicola de Antoni impresse, Ignazio Pavon Offre e Dedica in Rome. The next version was similar to the so-called Lviv one but it was not painted. The latter was issued in the album Nuova Raccolta di 50 costumi li più interessanti delle città, terre e paesi in provincie diverse del Regno di Napoli (Collection of 50 most interesting picturesque costumes from cities, towns and villages of different provinces of the Kingdom of Naples) published in Rome in 1817. The Lviv version differs from the first one of 1815 by brighter colors but less attention of the author to the architecture and characters’ clothing detailing. In the foreground in the center, one can see three figures, namely a blind musician singing and playing a lute, and two women of different heights squinting at him. These three people stand out between the bare walls of two houses in the background of the architecture, the sky, and the fragments of trees and mountains. On the left near the wall, a barefoot boy is listening to the singer, leaning his head on his hand against the wall. On the right in a short distance, a man is standing against the wall, listening to the singing. He is wearing a blue cloak with a cape, a black hat and black shoes with golden inserts. A blind musician is dressed in the same bright clothes. He is wearing a bright green cloak with a cape, red trousers, and white stockings; on his head there is a hat. A woman and a girl are dressed much poorer in simple and not bright clothes. Instead, the figure of the guy dressed in bright blue pants harmoniously adds to the dark blue vertical of the man's clothes on the right.
In the lower left corner there is the author’s signature Pinelli written in italics, and the date 1816 followed by an illegible inscription Roma. In the center of the engraving under the image there is the work’s title Il Cieco che canta, e suona. There is a number "27" in the upper right corner above the plate.