Acquajolo, a Seller of Drinks in the City of Naples

Bartolomeo Pinelli

  • Acquajolo, a Seller of Drinks in the City of Naples 2
  • Acquajolo, a Seller of Drinks in the City of Naples 3
Basic information
Bartolomeo Pinelli
Acquajolo, a Seller of Drinks in the City of Naples
Date of creation
etching watercolor
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
10.3 x 16.3
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 is from the Neapolitan series. The engraving is known in black and white version from the album Raccolta di 50 costumi li più interesanti 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 1816. In the foreground, one can see a tall young man, who is a seller of spring water (acquajolo), and a girl. He is pouring water for her from a metal jar to a glass, and she is standing next to him, holding a water tube with a lemon and looking at him as if appraising the young seller. Both characters are dressed in typical Neapolitan clothing. A young man is dressed in a white shirt, red vest, short (knee-length) blue pants, white stockings, and black shoes with overlays. On his head there is a black hat, decorated with a branch with leaves on top of it: and a yellow neckcloth tied in a knot on his neck. On the seller's belt there is a box (probably with a lemon or berries); in his hands there is a jar and glasses for water. The young girl is dressed in a white dress with a yellow apron, and a long skirt with a pink edging and floral patterns. On her head there is a headscarf tied in a knot on the back of her head; on her feet there are light red shoes. She is carrying a round parcel in her hand (maybe with some linen or clothes). The action is taking place in the city square, between the brick buildings of Naples, which are depicted in light ochre tones, as if saturated with the southern sun. Acquajolo was a street salesman or kiosk keeper in Naples who sold spring water from the mountains between Castellammare di Stabia and Salerno situated south of Naples. Lemon juice or berries were added to the spring water. The seller kept them cold in a metal jar. Acquajolo was a typical character in the streets of Naples in the 19th century.
In the lower right corner there is the author’s signature Pinelli written in italics, date – 1816, and the place of performance – Roma (illegibly). In the center of the engraving under the image there is the work’s title Acquajolo, nella Città di Napoli. There is a number "35" in the upper right corner above the plate.