Woman of Frascati and a Hermit

Bartolomeo Pinelli

  • Woman of Frascati and  a Hermit 2
  • Woman of Frascati and  a Hermit 3
Basic information
Bartolomeo Pinelli
Woman of Frascati and a Hermit
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 composition is known in three variants. The first one was performed for the album Raccolta di cinquanta costumi pittoreschi incisi di acqua forte (Collection of fifty picturesque costumes engraved in strong water) published in 1809 in Rome. The next version similar to the the so-called Lviv one was posted in the album Nuova Raccolta di cinquanta costumi pittoreschi (Collection of fifty picturesque costumes) published by Giovanni Scudellari in Rome in 1817. One more version of this composition is known since 1815, in which a boy was depicted instead of a girl. All known versions differ from the "Lviv" one because they are not painted with watercolors. In the foreground in the center, one can see three figures, namely a woman in typical festive clothing of southern Italy with her daughter who are carrying the Easter cakes in their baskets to the church. They stopped at a hermit sitting near the monastery gate, and the woman gave him alms. The gray-bearded Capuchin hermit and the woman are looking warmly into each other's eyes, though the girl is a little excited, looking closely at the hermit and holding her mother's skirt. The action is taking place in a winding street in the suburbs of Rome, in the town of Frascati, where the media areas are surrounded by high stone walls, behind which one can see the greenery of trees and grapes. The artist used the deep blue color depicting a woman's festive waistcoat, a girl's skirt, as well as a cross over a bowl for washing hands in front of the gate doorway, and a niche in an aedicule over another gate in the background on the left. The artist highlighted the figure of the Capuchin brother in a rich brown color. The hermit is the main character of the work. In contrast to the first version of 1809, where the hermit is depicted as a young man, in this work Pinelli created a psychological image of an older and wise man.
In the lower left corner there is the author’s signature Pinelli written in italics, the date – 1816, and the place of performance – Roma. In the center of the engraving under the image there is the work’s title Donna di Frascati, ed un Eremita. There is a number "29" in the upper right corner above the plate.